Algerian M'hajeb - Traditional Filled Pastry
from Um Safia
M'hajeb are infamous in Algeria & Morocco - where they are also known as M'semmen. They are a fine pastry made of semolina & filled with a delicious mix of tomato, onion & sometimes peppers. M'hajeb keep well in the freezer when individually wrapped.
SERVES 10 , 10 m'hajeb approx
- 4 onions
- 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato puree
- 2 green bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 hot pepper (optional)
- 500 g fine semolina
- 250 g plain flour
Slice the onions in fine rings. Slice the peppers into fine strips ( many people remove skin first) and fry together in a little olive oil until softened. (If using the hot pepper, de-skin then puree, add to the onions & peppers.) Add the puree, salt and pepper and cook covered, for approx 5 minutes or until soft and well flavoured. Set aside to cool.
*To make the pastry, it's easiest if you have a mixer with a dough hook or a bread maker set on the dough setting.*.
Mix the semolina and the flour in a mixer of place in the bread machine. Make a hollow in the centre, add a little salt and enough water to bring to a stiff dough. Knead well. Add a little more water, a bit at a time until the dough is finally a soft elastic consistency - this is usually around 8-10 minutes.
Wehen the dough it nice and elastic, pull of pieces and roll into golf balls. The secret is to have EVERYTHING WELL OILED -- Oil your hands, the work surface and the m'rie or large skillet / chappati pan.
Take a golf ball at a time and gently stretch out as thin as you can. It's easiest to do this on a well oiled work surface. If uyou get a few little holes, don't worry - you can patch them up and nobody will mind!
Place a spoonful of filling in the centre and fold the edges in one at a time (left, right, top, bottom), to form a rough square shaped parcel.
Fry until golden on both sides - you have to be very attentive here or they will burn!