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Kefta Msemen (Rghaif) - Moroccan Pan-Fried Dough Stuffed with Gound Beef

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Kefta Msemen (Rghaif) - Moroccan Pan-Fried Dough Stuffed with Gound Beef

Msemen (Rghaif) Stuffed with Kefta

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

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

This recipe makes a slightly zesty ground beef (kefta) filling. Some Moroccans add beef or lamb suet for flavor. Others might substitute Chinese rice vermicelli for the some of the ground beef.

Once the filling and dough are made, you're ready to fold and stuff. See both How to Fold and Make Msemen and How to Make Stuffed Msemen.

Also try Onion Msemen and Spicy Msemen.

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 26 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 very large onion, or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. (about 1/2 kg.) ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (some hot, if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • handful of black olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
  • handful of green olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
  • 1 chili pepper, seeded and very finely chopped (optional)
  • ---------- For the Dough -----------
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 3/4 cup to 2 cups warm water
  • ---------- For Folding and Frying ----------
  • 1 bowlful of vegetable oil (half melted butter for flavor, if desired)

Preparation:

Make the Kefta Filling

Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat for five to ten minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the ground beef and spices, and cook, stirring frequently to break up the meat, until the beef is brown and cooked through. Stir in the parsley, olives and chili pepper, and set aside. (Note: The filling can be made a day in advance and refrigerated.)

Make the Msemen (Rghaif) Dough

Blend all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups of warm water, and mix to form a dough. Add more water if necessary to make a dough that is soft and easy to knead, but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little flour one tablespoon at a time.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, (or knead the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes), until the dough is very smooth and elastic.

Fold and Stuff the Msemen

Oil your hands, and divide the dough into an even number of balls. Making the balls about the size of small plums will yield approximately 20 balls.

Divide the kefta filling into half the number of portions as you have balls. To divide the filling, just push it into separate piles in the pan in which it was cooked. 

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 in the center. (If you turn the folded msemen over and rotate it 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.

Fry or Bake the Msemen

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 setting to allow enough time for all the layers of dough to cook – about five to 10 minutes for each msemen.

Or, bake the 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.

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