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Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

Ramadan is for eating utterly delicious food. At least that’s my view – and one shared by many Moroccans. Of course, many of us fast, but to concentrate only on this important aspect of Ramadan would be to ignore all that goes on after sunset and prayers, including the zealous consumption of Moroccan cuisine’s best dishes, socialising and fun with family and friends!

In this blog post, Joe and I would like to share with you one of our favourite Moroccan Ramadan staples, msemen,

and to give you a recipe that you can make at home to try it for yourself. If you celebrate Ramadan in any capacity, cooking msemen will kick your iftar up several notches – if you don’t celebrate Ramadan, my exquisite recipe will give you some keen insight into this most holy month for Muslims… insight of the most delicious variety!

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

Msemen isn’t the kind of dish one typically finds at a restaurant, so unless you are Moroccan or if you ever celebrated iftar with a Moroccan family, it’s probably new to you. Msemen is a tasty flat bread that we dip in butter and honey, often after prayers during Ramadan, as a luxurious way to recalibrate our blood sugar and palates after a day of fasting. The plain msemen is the most common variety that is enjoyed throughout Morocco, but it is a bread that comes in many variations. Much in the same spirit as pizza – or a calzone, as it were – msemen can be filled with virtually anything to add another dimension or two. Two of my favourites are spiced minced lamb or merguez sausages. Pretty much if there’s a cheese, meat, vegetable or combination thereof that you fancy, you can stuff it in your msemen and it will be delicious.

The recipe I am sharing with you here is my personal one for msemen filled with onions and herbs. Not only is it suitable for vegan and vegetarians… it is taste fantastic! My onion and herb msemen will raise your Ramadan up another scrumptious level – and if you don’t celebrate, it is lovely to eat on its own or as an accompaniment to your favourite tagine!

 

To try a Moroccan classic that isn’t widely available outside of Morocco and the homes of Moroccans, cook my amazing msemen recipe.

But if you want to dip your toe in the proverbial water before doing so, join us at Zayane during Ramadan to try our special iftar menu, where you can enjoy our personal take on some of Morocco’s most spectacular dishes including msemen. To get the full story about our Ramadan menu, click hereto check out our blog, ‘Ramadan is Abundance, Not Lack’.

 

If you have any questions about this recipe or if you’d like to share with me what you think of my msemen recipe, please get in touch on Instagramor Twitter! And if you have any special requests for future recipes, Ramadan or otherwise, just let me know!

 

As ever – Ramadan Mubarak!

 

Zayane’s Ramadan Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

 

Zayane’s Recipe for Onion and Herb Msemen

 

  • Bread dough
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch of parsley and coriander, finally chopped
  • 2 red chillis, finely chopped
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper

 

Method:

  1. Sweat the onions in a small drizzle of olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add chilli, herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Once done, let cool.
  3. Cut the dough into small balls
  4. Oil your working surface and spread the dough until it is so thin it is nearly translucent.
  5. Put 1 tbsp of the onion mix in the middle of the dough and spread it into a square.
  6. Fold the dough over the onion mix by bringing two opposite sides first to cover the onions then the other sides to cover the first fold making an envelope.
  7. Oil your first msemen and repeat the same process with the rest of the dough.
  8. Pan fry but do not use too much oil – just enough so the msemen doesn’t stick to the pan.
  9. Serve hot.

 

 

Innovating Tradition with Tradition– Zayane’s Bakoula Briwats

At Zayane my son Joe and I have a dish that isn’t just a culinary innovation, it
challenges the innovation process. On the one hand it goes far beyond merely
reinvigorating an originally Moroccan concept with European ingredients that
are passed through the prism of modern preparation and presentation. On the
other hand, one might argue that our tasty dish is forged in a far more humble
hue of originality and creativity.

It is a dish comprised of two measures of
traditional Moroccan cookery, and a modest measure of imagination.

Our dish
goes by the double-barrel Bakoula Briwats: two words that will be instantly
recognisable to Moroccan culinary savants, which often belong together in the
same Moroccan meal or even on the same dinner table. But it is only at Zayane
where these staples of Moroccan cuisine are fused together into one delectable
creation.

The first element is bakoula – a dish that is adored throughout Morocco.

It is awarm salad made from mallow, preserved lemons, olives, garlic, herbs and – for
those who like a spicy kick – roasted or fresh chilli. This tasty and healthy dish is
eaten with Moroccan semolina bread. When in season, mallow is Morocco’s
favourite leafy green, which we buy in bunches in the souks, or harvest wherever
the delicious edible weed grows. As mallow is hard to come by in Britain, our
bakoula at Zayane incorporates a mixture of kale and spinach that gives this
salad a remarkably similar taste and texture to the original version. It can be
enjoyed as a light and healthy snack, starter or side dish.

The second character in this gastronomic marriage is a briwat, a stuffed
triangular parcel made from Moroccan warka filo pastry that can be savoury or
sweet.

The most commonly enjoyed briwats are the sweet variety made with an
irresistible almond filling. Back home we eat almond briwats with Moroccan
mint tea as an afternoon ‘pick-me- up’ or as a special dessert. At Zayane, Joe and I
offer hungry guests a delectable range of savoury briwats, including duck, king
prawn and Camembert, as well as our tempting hazelnut, cheesecake and
chocolate briwats for dessert.

So how do Joe and I combine these two authentic dishes that have long been
enjoyed on their own, without being infused into one another?

Why would we
risk upsetting the culinary equilibrium – and offending Moroccan foodie
traditionalists – by doing so? At Zayane we are always exploring new flavours
and combinations and are particularly excited when our experiments result in
food that is as delicious as it is healthy. The first time we placed a generous
spoonful of bakoula salad into a triangle of warka pastry, the resulting briwats
were a burst of scrumptious vegetarian goodness. We threw tradition to the
wind and innovated with our eyes and imaginations firmly fixed on some of
Moroccan cuisine’s most humble dishes.
We’d like to welcome you to Zayane to try our spectacular Kale and Spinach
Briwats (Bakoula Briwats) – but if you prefer to try this Zayane innovation in
your own kitchen, click here for the recipe!

Recipe for Kale and Spinach Briwats

Ingredients
 1 kg kale (chop if large and discard large stalks)
 1 kg spinach
 2 preserved lemons (large), skin only, finely chopped
 1 handful kalamata olives, chopped
 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
 1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
 5 cloves of garlic finely sliced
 ½ cup olive oil
 1 tbsp sweet paprika
 1 tbsp cumin
 2 tbsp lemon juice
 1 tbsp harissa sauce (optional)
 spring roll pastry
 1 beaten egg
Method
1. Heat olive oil in a large deep pan, add spices.
2. Let them sizzle for 2 min then add garlic. Cook garlic but do not let it
brown.
3. Add all other ingredients but the spinach.
4. Stir with a wooden spoon until kale is cooked.
5. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
6. Put in colander to cool down and also get rid of excess liquids.
7. Take one spring roll sheet and cover the rest with a damp cloth. Cut into
three rectangles. Use one at the time and cover the other two as they dry
quickly.
8. Put one tbsp of the kale and spinach mixture in one corner of the pastry
and fold the pastry over it (to make a triangle) keep rolling and tucking
and then glue the end with the egg wash. You will end up with a samosa
shape. You could also shape it as a spring roll.
9. Deep fry until golden brown or bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-
10 minutes.