Mahjouba (Algerian Crêpes)

Nuvita Biscuits

These thick, flaky crêpes stuffed with a jammy tomato-based filling are a typical street snack in Algeria.


  • 6 small white onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 red chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, crushed by hand
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 4¼ cups fine semolina


1. Combine onions, chiles, and carrots in a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables, and cook, stirring, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until mixture is thick and slightly dry, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro; let filling cool.

2. Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp. salt, semolina, and 2 cups water in a bowl, and stir until dough forms. Transfer to a work surface, and knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, about 8 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, shape into balls, and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

3. Lightly oil a work surface (marble works best), and working one at a time, flatten dough ball into a disk using the heel of your hands until it is about ⅙” thick. Gently pull the edges to stretch the dough into a paper-thin rectangle, about 15″ long and 12″ wide. Place a scant ½ cup filling in the center of the dough, and spread it out to a 6″ x 4″ rectangle. Fold the long sides of the rectangle over the filling, and then fold over the short sides, pressing to seal and enclose the filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.


Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Kristian on Feb 12, 2013

    When I was in Malaysia the hotel I was staying in served “Red Rice” on their buffet. It was rice cooked with tomato paste and spices. It was delicious

    Would anyone have a recipe for it?

    Many thanks.

  2. posted by United on Mar 16, 2013

    so i ran out of spaghetti sauce right when i wanted to make a pizza bagel so i was wondering if anyone knew any recipes that don’t use tomato paste [cuz im out of that too]. and dont make fun of me saying ‘just go out and buy sum’ cuz im only 14 and i cant drive yet. thank youuuuu =]]

  3. posted by nmlpc on Mar 18, 2013

    I need to make spaghetti for my family. I have the recipe and it says I need tomato paste. Can ketchup subsitute that? If not does anyone know any quick easy spaghetti sauce recipe? Please answer ASAP, thank you!
    Oh my god, I LOVE you guys! Quick question, is parsley flakes the same as oregano? I know I’m a terrible cook!

  4. posted by Xavier Hawthorne on Mar 21, 2013

    I have a recipe that requires chili paste, the store was out! Rather thatn go to another store before I make this dish could I use tomato paste maybe with a little chili powder added?

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