Vegetable Briouat + Memories of Marrakech

by Jen on April 18, 2012

You see, I have this obsession with Africa. (Isak Dinesen / Karen Blixen is my kind of heroine). North, south, east, west – I want to see every corner of the continent.

So, for my milestone birthday next year (I just won’t reveal how old young I am, haha), my husband and I have decided that we are heading to either East or South Africa for safari!!! Just the two of us, like the old days. Yeah, yeah!!! Now, we have to pick whether we want the Kenya-Tanzania-Zanzibar combo for some Maasai and Serengeti action; or if we want the South Africa-Botswana-Zambia combo for some Livingstone and Okavango action. Which would you prefer or suggest, dear readers?

While we are on the subject of Africa, I should mention that I love Marrakech, Morocco! This was the first African city I’ve set foot in, and to me, it was magical! It was like I got possessed by some spirit or jinn – a good one – and I never wanted to leave.

I tried to convince my husband and then 2-year-old daughter to runaway to Marrakech, but they just laughed at “crazy mommy!” So, I slowly let go of my dream of buying a rundown riad with a garden courtyard in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. I resigned to the fact that I won’t ever have my dream Moroccan house filled with brass lanterns and wooly kilims. However, what I DO have are memories of its dust-ridden alleys, its cacophanous souks, and the smokey, fiery foods made by a Berber’s hands.

Today’s recipe is for a briouat, a North African fried savoury pastry roll that comes in many different shapes and sizes, with many different fillings. Briouats are traditionally made with warkha pastry, which Marrakshis are very adept in crafting. Everywhere you go in the souk, you’ll see warkha makers spinning these delicate and light pastries on metal crêpe drums set over charcoal braziers. And those Marrakshis, they know how to cook!

Look! Even my daughter loves Moroccan food!

Right now, I want to replicate my favourite vegetable briouat from the Marrakech souks. These are perfect little snacks after a day of haggling and shopping. Sip mint tea with these rolls, and that’s a mini Moroccan feast for yourself!

I did not have a chance to go to a North African store here in Toronto for warkha, and I surely didn’t want to attempt making these thin-as-gauze wrappers at home. So, I used phyllo for this recipe – an acceptable substitution with acceptable results.

Also, these briouats require a spice blend called “ras el hanout.” Ras el hanout translates as ‘top of the shop’ and it’s a merchant’s special spice blend, which is at least 15, and up to 30, different spices and herbs. It usually includes nutmeg, cardamom, mace, ginger, cloves, lavender, cayenne, orris root, cinnamon, cumin seeds, turmeric, aniseed, rosebuds, allspice, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cassia bark, almonds, grains of paradise, nigella seeds, ash berries. My ras el hanout supply from the Marrakech souk - carefully smuggled in my carry-on - is long gone, but I found a really good one at The Spice Trader. As well, Williams-Sonoma has a decent version.

Can I tempt you into having some vegetable briouats?

Vegetable Briouat
5.0 from 7 reviews
Print
Recipe Type: Appetizer, Snack
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 50 mins
Serves: 4
Based on a recipe from “A Month in Marrakesh” by Andy Harris. Published by Hardie Grant Books London, 2011.
Ingredients
  • 4 sheets warkha pastry or 8 sheets filo pastry
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 zucchinis, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, halved and sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and brushing
  • 2 tablespoons ras el hanout*
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • nigella seeds or sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon harissa**
  • 8 tablespoons thick Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant, onion, and garlic in a roasting pan or baking sheet large enough to hold everything (or use more than one pan – do not overcrowd).
  3. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle vegetables with olive oil, then add the ras el hanout and combine well.
  4. Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes to 60 minutes, checking to make sure they are browned but did not dry out.
  5. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then chop vegetables again to smaller pieces. Add lemon juice and parsley, and toss to combine.
  6. To make the briouats, take one sheet of warkha or phyllo and place the filling mixture along one side of the pastry.
  7. Roll the pastry to form a long cigar shape, making sure to secure the edges with olive oil. Repeat until all filling is used. Sprinkle with nigella or sesame seeds.
  8. Option 1 (Fried): Fill a large frying pan a third full with olive oil, then place over medium heat. When hot, carefully drop the briouats and fry until golden, 5-7 minutes, turning to brown all sides.
  9. Option 2 (Baked): Heat your oven to 350 degrees F, place your briouat rolls on rack atop a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.***
  10. To make the harissa yoghurt dip, mix the harissa, yoghurt, and olive oil.
Notes

*Ras el hanout translates as ‘head of the shop’ and it’s a merchant’s special spice blend, which is at least 15, and up to 30, different spices and herbs. It usually includes nutmeg, cardamom, mace, ginger, cloves, lavender, cayenne, orris root, cinnamon, cumin seeds, turmeric, aniseed, rosebuds, allspice, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cassia bark, almonds, grains of paradise, nigella seeds, ash berries.

**Harissa is North Africa’s most commonly-served condiment. It is a red chilli-garlic mixture which can be moderately to highly spicy.

***Although traditionally deep fried, I chose to bake mine in the oven; it’s a little bit more heart-healthy that way.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Why Rome? April 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Your photos are stunning! Absolutely beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing.

Reply

Sandra's Easy Cooking April 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I am amazed! Wow..what a beautiful pics, can’t wait to see your pick on the next African destination…
Briouat sound fantastic, and I glad that you used phyllo dough so we can experiment with this too. Very creative way of thinking! Thank you for sharing!

Reply

Suzanne April 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I loved this post with all the beautiful photos and seeing the fun things in Morrocco. I love the photo with the bike in front of the large hanging rug, and the blue rugs hanging in contrast to the terra cotta wall. These little treats remind me of taquitos, I bet the are wonderful tasting with all those spices in them.

Reply

Tina Ong (@PhenomenalMama) April 19, 2012 at 1:45 am

I do miss your travel posts, Jen! So I am looking forward to that BIG trip. Do not remind me how YOUNG we are.

It looks like a middle eastern version of our lumpia.

Reply

Mom-Friday April 19, 2012 at 4:29 am

Exotic lumpia! ;) )))
I really love your photos of Marrakech, glad you imported the images here. Agree with Tina, I miss your travel posts!

Reply

Andi April 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

Your pics are phenomenal!!!!!!!!! I love Africa too, though I haven’t been in years sadly. I say safari in SA.

Reply

Heather in Arles April 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Hi there! I’ve done both safaris (used to be a travel writer) and you know what? They are both amazing and very different. Personally, I lovelovelove Tanzania and have been twice. At the Ngorongoro Crater you WILL see everything–they all live in the Crater and can’t get out! :O The Serengeti is more about the plains–the enormity of it–and the surprise of suddenly coming upon a leopard in a tree. The tipping point might be Zanzibar–since you love Marrakech you will looove Zanzibar. But the other option is really wonderful too–if you do Botswana I would suggest an elephant back safari through the Okavango–incredible. I know you would be happy either way.

Reply

sippitysup April 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I’d runaway to Marrakech with you. It has been decades since I’ve been. GREG

Reply

Jen April 22, 2012 at 11:38 am

Let’s go!!!! LOL!

Reply

Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Hi Jen,

Thanks so much for paying my blog a visit and your nice comments – it’s always fun to “meet” fellow food bloggers!

Your images of Marrakech are stunning. I’ve never been, but you’ve certainly piqued my interest. I adore all veggies, so I know I’d love these briouats (I’d definitely go for the mint tea too – it’s my favorite). Look forward to reading more of your posts!

Reply

Raymund April 20, 2012 at 12:31 am

Thanks for visiting my site, if not I wont be able to discover this wonderful blog! I love your photography everything is composed perfectly. I love the recipes as well!

Reply

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 20, 2012 at 8:16 am

These look like they’d be right at home in Marrakech! I love briouats with the lovely crisp pastry :D

Reply

Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen April 20, 2012 at 11:05 am

Such a gorgeous post and recipe, Jennifer! I can’t decide which of the pictures I like best… I really like ALL of them, they make me feel like I’m smack right in the middle of Marrakesh! :)

Reply

Jean | Lemons and Anchovies April 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I can’t stop looking at all your beautiful images, Jen. You’ve captured Marrakech so well and have me wanting to pay a visit. I can’t think of a more exciting way to celebrate a milestone birthday than what you have planned. My husband and I missed out on an African safari about 8 years ago and we haven’t been able to put it back on the schedule since. Wow, what a thing to look forward to!

This vegetable briouats are new to me but boy do they look great!

Reply

Nami | Just One Cookbook April 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Wow… you really take gorgeous pictures! I was so reluctant to take my kids to Japan back then when they were like 2 years old – scared of a long flight and all (but I did it anyway because I wanted to go home). You always inspire me with all the travel pictures and top notch recipes and photography!!

Reply

Jen April 22, 2012 at 11:37 am

We brought her because we had no choice! Hahahaha!!! Kidding aside, I was having some attachment issues before since she was our first child and we doted on her so much! Now, I’m on my third child, and we are just like, “nah, whatever…!” LOL!

Reply

Tobias @ T and Tea Cake April 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm

My, those pictures are really causing a serious case of wanderlust in me. Dreamy.
Beside a few impressions I have had if Tunisia waaay back, Africa as a whole is a complete gap in my knowledge as in: I have only a very vague idea of the contintent.

I’d opt for the Kenya-Tanzania-Zanzibar version. :)

Reply

Jen April 22, 2012 at 11:34 am

Thanks, Tobias! I’d LOVE to go to Tunisia! I seriously have a condition called “itchy feet syndrome” – and I love travelling! Tunisia is in my bucket list! Yeah Kenya-Tanzania-Zanzibar is the one I’m leaning towards.

Reply

Mark Wiens April 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Great news about taking a trip to Africa soon! Choosing between East and Southern Africa is a tough choice – I would choose East Africa just because it’s where I know best – but I’m sure both will be amazing!

Your photos of Morocco (and its food) make me want to head to North Africa now!

Reply

Jen April 22, 2012 at 11:32 am

Hi Mark, I think I am leaning more towards East Africa also, although my husband wants South Africa. Ideally, I’d love to do BOTH, but I think I’ll take it one step at a time… Or should I say “one country at a time?”

Reply

Priscilla @ShesCookin April 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

I’ve never visited this part of the world, but your photos have transported me there, if only for a few minutes. I’ve been on a Moroccan binge for the past two years – ever since I purchased Ras el Hanout from a spice company called Awaken Savor at the Taste of HB two years ago. It’s all you need!

Reply

Jen April 22, 2012 at 11:22 am

Ooh, I gotta try Awaken Savor’s! I’m always on the lookout for good spices!

Reply

Karen (Back Road Journal) April 22, 2012 at 8:59 am

The photos are wonderful and if the recipe is half as good then it is surely a keeper.

Reply

Jen April 22, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hi, Karen! Thanks for visiting! The original recipe called for a more traditional North African pastry called warkha. I didn’t find any, but food writer Andy Harris wrote that phyllo is a good substitute. The veggie filling is good, though :)

Reply

Magic of Spice April 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm

What an amazing and beautiful post Jen! Africa is also on my list, way at the top, for places I must visit. Just looking at the spices alone make me want to travel, and the markets must be amazing! As are these delightful treats! They do look like an incredible snack :)

Reply

Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef April 28, 2012 at 3:23 am

I’m so hungry after looking at this post. I will confess I scrolled back up to look at that delicious man wearing the blue whatever it’s called. What a smile!

I’ve never had a vegetable briouat but I know I want one!

Reply

Maia May 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm

This is such a beautiful post!

Reply

SkinnySimpleRecipes May 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm

It’s my first time visiting your blog. I’ve been browsing from recipe to another until I saw your memories of Marrakech. Wow, I am from Morocco (Casablanca) and my heart just jumped with happiness. I really enjoyed your pictures and mostly your pleasant words describing Morocco. I also enjoyed all the nice reviews.
I am lucky because I still have some Ras El Hanout, from Morocco, and for sure I’ll be making some briouat this weekend.

Reply

Erica May 7, 2012 at 6:09 am

Hi Jen,
I like this new blog of yours! Fascinating images from Marrakech. And the vegetable briouat recipe looks so good. I love that you share vegetarian recipes as well. Inspires me to cook more and make up new recipes.

Reply

harriet clarke January 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Just read the info on briouats and saw the photos. They are phenomenal1 I returned from a tour of Morocco, including Marrakech, in November, 2013 and can’t wait to go back! I am having a Moroccan dinner party soona nd am looking for recipe for dips to serve with briouats.
Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe:
 

Previous post:

Next post:

cheap sildenafil