Stuffed Moroccan bread

Being Moroccan, love for homemade bread is in my blood. It’s something I grew up with. I vividly remember the aroma that filled the house as my mum was baking bread. We used to eat bread with almost every meal when I was growing up so we baked it every other day. If you consider that the house smelled amazing when mum used to make her ‘plain’ bread you can only imagine what it was like when she made her famous stuffed bread for us. We called this bread ‘boegensoe’ which simply means ‘stuffed’ or ‘with something inside’.

My mum would make Moroccan harira soup and this stuffed bread to go with it and we would be in heaven. Slices of this golden loaf would disappear in a hurry and if you didn’t pay attention you would be too late to grab a piece. I have a lot of siblings so one had to be quick at the dinner table. Kind of like survival of the fittest, or better yet, fastest. Every Moroccan mum probably has her own stuffed bread recipe, so there is not ‘one recipe’ but my mum’s recipe is so good you’ll want to stuff your face with it.

When I make this recipe for my kids it brings back so many memories, I only need to take one bite and I’m there again! Funny enough this bread is as common for me as pizza is for most people and I did not consider it a special recipe until I shared a ‘how to’ on Instagram. It turned out to be my most liked post ever. Especially the video where I show how to close the dough after putting the filling on it. I had so many requests for sharing the recipe after posting it, that of course I had to share it on my blog as well.

The filling in this version is made with minced beef, leeks, bell peppers and lots of fresh herbs and spices. However, you can vary your choice of filling. You can use different meat (lamb, chicken, even fish is possible) and you can also use different vegetables. It’s a very forgiving recipe…..… you can include almost anything, the bread makes a great ‘carrier’ for all the flavours. The only thing you will need to keep in mind is that you should cut the filling as small as you can. This ensures that the filling cannot poke holes in your dough causing it to leak on your baking sheet. You should also make sure you use enough, but not too much filling. What I’m talking about here is ratios. You need to have the right ratio of filling for your stuffed bread.

My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread

If you have made bread before than making this bread is relatively easy…………………..Remember the theory of relativity? Take this recipe for example. The bread gets stuffed, you get stuffed, but you’re relatively better off.

If you haven’t made bread before than you will need some practice to get it right. Make sure you use strong bread flour to get the best results. My mum always made it with regular all-purpose flour from the supermarket, but then again I don’t have my mum’s magic hands. I rely on good flour and a lot of practice. You will see that the more you bake bread the better it will turn out.

My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread      My Mums stuffed Moroccan bread


Moroccan Stuffed Bread
Servings: 8 people
  • 600 gr flour
  • 11 gr salt
  • 10 gr sugar
  • 5 gr commercial dried yeast
  • 400 gr of water (yes, in grams not ml)
  • 500 gr minced beef (or any other meat you fancy)
  • 1-2 leeks, about 400gr, chopped finely
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground koriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp raz-el-hanout
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 10 grams of koriander
  • 10 grams of parsley
  1. Put all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Knead for 15 minutes in your stand mixer or knead the dough by hand until it’s nice and elastic. See how elastic mine was after proofing in my Instagram video. Let it proof for 45-60min until it doubles in size.

  2. Chop all the vegetables finely otherwise it will poke holes in the dough when you use it as a filling. Heat up some olive oil in a large casserole and fry the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the meat and break it up with a spatula, than add the bell peppers and spices. Cook until everything is soft and cooked through. Make sure the filling is not too wet, if so then cook a bit longer so the moisture evaporates. Taste and add salt or any of the other spices until it tastes good. Take it off the heat and mix in the parsley and coriander and let it cool before you used it in the dough.

  3. Divide the dough into 4 balls of approximately 250gr. Let it rest for 15 min. Press it down a little, enough to be able to add the filling. Put the filling on top and close the dough over the filling. See how I do that in above video in my blogpost. Close the dough firmly, let it rest for 20min to relax the gluten and then carefully flatten it into circles. Be careful not to tear it. Let the flattened disks proof for 30-45 min and bake in a hot oven 200C until golden brown.


Ottolenghi’s Kofta b’siniyah

Ssssssstttttt………..don’t tell anyone, but I’ve had a love affair with Middle Eastern food ever since I took my first bite. Middle Eastern cuisine comes from various countries and cultures ranging from North Africa through Asia. It includes Arab, Iranian/Persian, Israeli, Assyrian, Armenian, Kurdish, Cypriot, Azerbaijani and Turkish cuisines (sorry if I forgot some countries). It’s so broad you will always find something you like in this cuisine. I’m so fond of this type of food that I’m yet to cook something from it I don’t like.

Today I made Ottolenghi’s kofta b’siniyah from his cookbook Jerusalem. Kofta is essentially a meatball often seasoned with onion, herbs, and spices that can trace it’s origin across the Middle East. It comes in many varieties, each with its own unique heritage and specific preparation technique. Depending on the region, kofta can be made with any kind of ground meats. This version of kofta is made with half & half mixture of ground beef and ground lamb and served on a creamy tahini sauce.

Ottolenghi’s Kofta b’siniyah

Some recipes will tell you to use olive oil to cook the meatballs. I would advise against this because all the flavour of olive oil will disappear while cooking at high heat and the kofta is more likely to burn. Vegetable oil (like sunflower oil) has a higher smoking point and is better suited for the job.

Make sure to rest the shaped meatballs in the fridge for about 30 minutes or more before cooking, that helps the meatballs to firm up and the flavours to settle.

Ottolenghi’s Kofta b’siniyah

Before you start rolling the meatballs check the seasoning of your mixture by cooking a piece of it in the pan. Taste it and if it needs more salt or pepper, add some to the rest of the meatball mixture. Good seasoning is very important and is hard to correct once cooked.

Ottolenghi’s Kofta b’siniyah

This recipe uses tahini, but many people don’t like this paste, because they never had good tahini. I don’t buy the Turkish brands, because I find them too bitter and difficult to use (to thick). Buy a good brand tahini and don’t skip on the tahini-lemon sauce. It provides a smooth and creamy contrast to the fragrant meat. A good brand for example is ‘Al Yaman’ which I bought in ‘Tanger’, a Moroccan supermarket in Amsterdam. Two other brands I can recommend are ‘Al Nakhil’ and ‘Al Arz’. Surely you will find one of the three, either in a store or online.

I usually serve this with pita bread and a cucumber and tomato salad. Unfortunately I did not have time to make pita today so I served them with some corn on the cob.

Ottolenghi’s Kofta b’siniyah

So if you have the (meat)balls to try a variation on your standard meatball, it’s time to consider kofta. Trust me it will make you fall in love with middle eastern food in no time.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. Tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

Ottolenghi’s Kofta b’siniyah

Source: “Jerusalem” – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Servings: 5 people
  • 400 g minced lamb
  • 400 g minced beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50 g toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra whole ones to garnish
  • 30 g finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 large medium-hot red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1½   tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½   tsp ground allspice
  • ¾     tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1½   tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½   tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil for baking the Kofta
Tahini sauce
  • 75 g light tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • enough water to make the sauce runny
  • 1 medium garlic clove, crushed
  • salt
  • sweet paprika, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

  2. Put all the kofta ingredients (exept for the sunflower oil) in a bowl and use your hands to mix everything together well. Now shape into long, cigar-shaped cylinders, roughly 7cm long (about 50g each). Press the mix to compress it and ensure the kofta is tight and keeps its shape. Arrange on a plate and chill (at least 30 min) until you are ready to cook them.

  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, water and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. The sauce should be a bit runnier than honey; add more water if needed one tbs at the time.

  4. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying-pan and sear the kofta over a high heat; do this in batches so they are not cramped together. Sear them on all sides until golden brown, about six minutes for each batch. At this point they should be medium-rare. Lift out of the pan and arrange on an oven tray. Put the tray in the oven for two (medium) to four (well done) minutes.

  5. Spoon the tahini sauce on a serving plate so it covers the base of the tray and place the kofta on the sauce. Scatter with pine nuts and parsley and finally sprinkle some paprika on top. 

  6. Serve at once.


Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Lemon and Mint

Meatballs are little globes of deliciousness that can be used in all sorts of dishes. Whether you like them fried, baked, glazed, or simmered in sauce, they are super versatile and inexpensive. It’s just a matter of taking some ground meat, add some seasoning and herbs, form it into little balls, and cook! This lamb meatball recipe with feta, lemon and mint is fabulous, but you can always substitute the lamb for another kind of meat if you don’t like lamb. If I had to name one recipe that is ideal for slipping into a food coma, it would be this one.

If done right the meatballs are juicy and soft. To achieve this juiciness and softness it’s very important not to overwork the meat mixture, and make sure to simmer them gently. I use the lowest setting on the stove.

First time I saw the intriguing mix of ingredients  in this recipe, I immediately wanted to try it. After tasting it I can now tell you that there’s a mouthful of incredible flavour in every bite you take of this dish! I can honestly say that I have never eaten meatballs in tomato sauce as good as these and I would love to be proven wrong. If you have a better recipe, please let me know…….

The meatballs are quick and easy to make, you just mix all the ingredients together and roll them into golf size balls. I don’t know about you, but I think there is something extremely relaxing about rolling the meat into little balls and browning them into perfection before you drop them into the delicious, rich tomato sauce. I told the kids they could choose what to serve them with and they chose a cucumber and strawberry salad and some crusty bread.


It is worth doubling up the quantities of the tomato sauce if you want to serve them with a pasta like spaghetti. You know what………….…..just thought of this, but you could also use this extra sauce to make a delicious lunch the next day. Simply heat up the sauce and then drop a few eggs in the mixture and poach them to perfection. Add a nice crusty baguette and you’re sorted. I will definitely do that next time I make them.


Once we were having meatballs for diner and my son asks me: mum, how much of this meatball is meat? So I tell him that about 90% of the meatballs is meat. Then he replied: So the other 10% is made of balls? Euhhhhh……..…….never thought of it like that. Luckily it did not change my way of looking at meatballs.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

5 from 1 vote
Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Lemon and Mint

Source: Adapted from ‘Smitten Kitchen’

Servings: 5 people
  • 750 grams ground lamb
  • 1 large egg
  • 60 grams panko breadcrumbs
  • 60 grams crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • a Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 grams chopped parsley
  • 35 grams tomato paste
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for browning)
Tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 35 grams tomato paste
  • 800 grams (2 cans) of crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinches of red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 75 grams pitted, chopped kalamata olives, plus more for garnish
  • 5 grams thinly sliced mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 5 grams chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 30 grams crumbled feta, for garnish
  1. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except the oil. I like to do this with a fork. Form the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Oil your hands so the meat doesn’t stick to your fingers. Always roll them lightly so they just hold together but they aren’t compressed to much. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to set.
  2. While the meatballs set in the fridge, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and put it on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and let it "brown" in the pan. By doing this and sauteing it with the onions, you can boost the flavour of this dish in a big way. This method caramelizes the natural sugars in the tomato paste, making the sauce sweet and delicious. Then you add a little water to the pan and scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook at the lowest setting for 30 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is cooking you heat a little oil over a medium-high heat in a large frying pan and brown the meatballs. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Leave space so you can gently turn the meatballs around so they brown on all sides. You can fry the meatballs until cooked through but I prefer to finish them in the sauce. Once they are all browned, remove carefully with tongs and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the meatballs.
  4. Add the oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes, olives, mint and parsley to the tomato sauce. Then add the browned meatballs, cover the pan and cook again at the lowest simmer for another 30 minutes. By then the meatballs should be cooked through.
  5. Before serving you sprinkle the meatballs with feta, parsley, olives and mint and serve immediately. We served this with a cucumber and strawberry salad and some crusty baguette to mop up all the delicious tomato sauce.