Algeria was a country that we knew very little about.
Thanks to TikTok @matb3, we found a recipe for a popular Algerian street food called Mhadjeb. It’s a stuffed flatbread made of semolina flour. It is typically stuffed with meat and vegetables, then it’s fried.
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Ingredients (8 servings):
500 g fine semolina flour
350 mL water (approx 1 cup)
1 tsp salt
8 roma tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
4 green bell peppers
1 large onion
1-2 lbs ground beef
Vegetable oil (for coating hands and frying the flatbreads)
Mix 500 g of semolina flour with a pinch of salt. Whisk briefly to incorporate the salt.
Add your water and mix with a dough hook on a stand mixer or using your hand. Add a little less water than you think necessary. You can always add more! You want the dough to feel somewhat sticky, but you should be able to stretch it out on the counter without it sticking completely.
Set the dough aside to rest for 30-60 minutes while you create the filling.
Dice your bell peppers, onion, and tomatoes.
Chop your cilantro and set aside.
Mince your garlic and mix with all of your spices.
Cook your ground beef, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and spices in a pan until the beef is cooked through and the veggies are soft.
Stir in your cilantro, but reserve some for garnish.
Making the flatbreads:
Heat a pan or a griddle with a light coating of oil.
Pull out your dough and create balls of dough about the size of golf balls.
Lightly oil your hands and work surface, then stretch the dough ball until it is in a thin rectangle. Be patient with yourself. It takes a bit of practice to find the right thickness so it won’t tear!
Your filling may have released some liquids during cooking, so we chose to use a slotted spoon to fill the dough, but draining the liquid is also an option.
Fill the dough in the middle with a few tablespoons of filling, then fold the dough over to encase the filling completed. Try your best to close up any holes that form.
Place the flatbread seam-side down onto the preheated griddle and press down to flatten.
Let it cook on one side until it is bubbling and golden brown, then flip until the other side is cooked as well.
Once they’re all done, garnish with cilantro and serve!
Ingredients: ★★★★★ (5/5)
All of the ingredients for this were easy to find at our local grocery store. You might have to go to a Wegmans to find semolina flour, but everything else was easily accessible for us.
Time: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Although this took an hour and a half or so, the time that it took for the dough to rest was the perfect amount of time for us to prep and cook the filling, so it didn’t feel like there was a lot of sitting around and waiting. The only thing that took a lot of attention was the frying of the flatbreads on the griddle, but with two people, we were able to cook and fold them pretty quickly! They also made great leftovers.
Taste: ★★★★★ (5/5)
These tasted great. It was also easy to make a batch with just veggies for a vegetarian option. If you are looking for an African dish with ingredients that you have around the house, this is a great choice!
Price (per serving) (Each $ represents $5 increments): $ (1/5)
This was extremely cheap!! It was wonderful to make all of this food that cost maybe $5 per serving. This is a great meal for a group and is super easy to scale up for a cheap dinner. 10/10 would recommend for meal prep. Just place some parchment paper between the flatbreads. They reheated well in the microwave or air-fryer.
We completed this dish in January 2021.