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Onion Msemen (Rghaif) Recipe - Moroccan Fried Dough Stuffed with Onions

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Photo © Christine Benlafquih

Stuffed msemen are a filled version of the regular square-shaped rghaif, or Moroccan pancake. The stuffed msemen can be either fried or baked, and can be made ahead and frozen. Serve at tea time or at a Ramadan iftar.

This recipe makes a spicy onion filling. Reduce or omit the hot pepper if you'd prefer a mild stuffing.

After you make the filling, you'll need to make the basic msemen dough. See both How to Fold and Make Msemen and How to Make Stuffed Msemen.

Note that this recipe calls for shaping the msemen with the filling concentrated in the middle rather than dispersed throughout the layers. For the latter method, see the Msemen Maamer recipe.

Also try Kefta Msemen and Spicy Msemen.

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 26 minutes


  • 2 very large onions (about 1 1/4 lbs. or 700 g), chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • large handful (about 20) black olives, pitted
  • small handful (about 10) green olives, pitted
  • 1 or 2 preserved (pickled) jalapeño or hot peppers, seeds and stems removed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Msemen dough
  • bowlful of vegetable oil


Slowly sauté the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for a half hour, or until very tender. Stir occasionally, and do not burn or caramelize the onions. Remove the onions from the heat.

Chop the olives and hot peppers until very fine, and add them to the cooked onion. Stir in the spices and set aside. (Note: You can make the onion filling a day in advance and refrigerate until needed.

Make the msemen dough. Divide it into about 20 (or another even number) of balls, and divide the onion filling into half that number of portions.

On an oiled surface, using as much oil on the dough as necessary, spread a ball of dough into a paper-thin circle. Place one portion of filling in the center of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, and then fold each end of the dough into the center to make a square. The filling should now be enclosed.

Spread another ball of dough into a thin circle, and place the folded msemen upside down in the center, so that the thicker, folded side is face-down. (If you also rotate the folded msemen one quarter turn, the dough will be distributed more evenly in the final product.) Fold the second circle of dough as you did the first, to enclose the first msemen.

Set the stuffed msemen on an oiled tray and repeat the process with the remaining dough: stuff one layer of dough, and then enclose the folded dough in another layer of dough.

When ready to cook, lightly pat each folded msemen to flatten them. Be careful not to flatten so much that the stuffing breaks through the edges.

Fry the stuffed msemen in a frying pan or on a griddle over medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Use a medium-low to medium heat to allow enough time for all the layers of dough to cook – about five to 10 minutes each.

You can also bake the stuffed msemen. Preheat an oven to 425° F (220° C) degrees. Place the flattened msemen on a baking sheet, prick with a fork, and bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Freeze cooked msemen for up to one month. Reheat directly from the freezer by placing the stuffed msemen in a 350° F (180° C) degree oven for about 10 minutes.

  1. About.com
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  3. Moroccan Food
  4. Moroccan Bread, Rghaif, and Beghrir Recipes
  5. Moroccan Pan-Fried Breads, Rghaif, Crepes and Pancakes
  6. Onion Msemen Recipe - Moroccan Crepe with Onion Filling

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