Sunday, January 25, 2009

M'hadjub ... M'hajub

This is an Algerian dish that I enjoy making, it's fun to make the dough, it's fun to stretch it and fold it over and it's great for winter days as it's spicy! When I do make it, I love to eat at least three but I can only make it every couple of months, it's oil content is too high.

4 cups of fine semolina
2 cups of room temperature water plus two tablespoons, more depending on semolina texture
salt to taste
light olive oil for frying and stretching out the dough


3 medium tomatoes
6 medium onions
hot pepper
tomato paste

I used an entire package of semolina (I didn't measure it, but it's about a kilo, four cups) and added water bit by bit until a very smooth and elastic dough was formed.

You shouldn't be able to feel the coarseness of the semolina grains at all. This takes like ten to fifteen minutes by hand or five to eight by a mixer. I like to do it by hand, but the mixer works great too.
After the dough is soft, elastic, smooth and very silky, coat with olive oil and set to the side to prepare the filling.
Shred the onions and tomatoes. Cook on medium high heat, salted, until they are soft and all of the water is gone and all you have is a thick onion spread. Season with hot paprika, cumin, salt, & black pepper.
Finish cooking until thick.


Add a few tablespoons of tomato paste. Set aside to completely cool.

Rolling out the dough is the fun part. I couldn't take pictures because my hands are all oily and really you need both hand to make this pastry. I will however post a whole new Mhadjub post soon with full pictures, or maybe even a video.
Break off a lemon sized ball, and place it on a well oiled counter top.
Don't worry if it rips in places, as long as the middle part is fine, the filling shouldn't leak out.
Dip the dough into olive oil, or sprinkle some on top of it. I use Olive Oil, but really any oil works.
Using a circular motion press the dough out until its paper thin.
Leave the middle thicker then the rest of the pastry so it may support the filling.
Practice a few times and it will be perfect, but don't stress yourself out into tears!
Place a couple spoons of cooled filling and gently stretch the dough on one side opposite of the filling over the filling. 
Then repeat with the other three sides.
Place on a hot heavy cooking skillet, preferably something like cast iron.
I use my two burner grill pan, cast iron, flat one one side, grilled on the other. Or my cast iron pizza pan.
A nonstick pan works as well, and it's what most people use... But just in case you don't know, they are extremely hazardous to your health. Flip it when the side is well browned.
Sever with tea, or soup, or eat it alone with a glass of cold milk like me!


  1. I love these! I had a go at making them recently, you can see my efforts here. Yours look way better than mine, of course I'm a novice when it comes to Algerian food. Having seen the photo of your dough I think maybe I didn't add enough water. I'll follow your quantities next time!

  2. Assalamu alaykum mash'Allah ukhti! I love mahdjeb! I want to learn how to make them too and now with your lovely recipes and picks I can do so.I cannot believe the way you stretch that dough, is it sticky? Jazakillah kheiri for all your lovely recipes.
    wa alaykum assalam

  3. Aslamu alakaum jamila
    well done they look wonderful mashaallah. I am impressed with the elasticty of your dough as any good manhajab maker will know this is paramount in the forming. Did you use your wonderful device for the kneeding or hand? May give em ago soon now you have inspired me, i really need to get a mixer like yours inshaAllah.

    These are one of my fav's from the Algerian delights as the spicyness it just nice for me.

  4. You are one brave soul mashaAllah and you make it look so easy. So easy, that I might attempt to make them myself.

    On my last night in Algiers, my SIL cooked these for me. Delicous!

  5. oh yum. masha Allah. THIS is inspiring stuff .))

  6. Your recipes are always so very appetizing, this looks really tasty.

  7. AssalamuAlaikum, all of your recipes look delicious!

  8. salam aleykum!!
    i'm so happy that i've found this blog! :) thank you!

  9. Aslamuakaum how are you sister ? I tagged you come and see

  10. I'm going to be moving into a slightly bigger apartment soon, and I will have more space to invite friends to cook together etc. - your recipe photos are such an inspiration. I like to be a vagabonde and try out the new.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your passion.

  11. Assalaamu'alaykum sister,

    I am from Malaysia and we actually get to buy this in the Indian Muslim restaurants everywhere! it's called 'roti canai.'

    Not the version you have made, but the dough is what it is! Usually cooked over a pan plain, and eaten with dhal or fish curry, etc. Or sometimes they put in chopped bananas, or sardin, or even chocolate!

    Lots of work, mashaa Allaah :)

  12. i made these and they are delicious masAllah!! I love the dough so much, I had a blast kneading it. JazakAllah khairun for sharing this recipe <3

  13. hey, quick question... do you think i could make the dough the night before and freeze it? it's a time-consuming recipe and im looking for shortcuts :) thanks

  14. @ Lala, you can put it in the fridge for up to three days, as far as the freezer I have not tried it so I don't know. Good luck and let me know if you do freeze it.


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