Mahjouba (Algerian Crêpes)
These thick, flaky crepes stuffed with a jammy tomato-based filling are a typical street snack in Algeria. This recipe first appeared in our November 2012 issue along with Jay Cheshes’s story Couscous Royale.
- 6 small yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 3 red Holland chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- 1⁄4 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 packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 4 1⁄4 cups fine semolina
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1⁄6” thick. Gently pull the edges to stretch the dough into a paper-thin rectangle, about 15″ long and 12″ wide. Place a scant 1⁄2 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.
- Heat a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat, place one packet seam side-down in skillet, and cook, flipping once, until browned in spots, about 12 minutes; repeat with remaining packets.