مدفونة تافلالت/Madfouna of Rissani -Tafilalt ( Amazigh Flatbread -Moroccan Pizza) / Madfouna de Rissani- (Pain Farci des Amazighs-Pizza Marocain)

There are numerous regions worth exploring in Morocco for their nature contrasts, for their  amazing sights and landscapes or simply for their history and Tafilalt [T U F E E L A L T] is one such place! Tafilalt is a region in the famous Ziz Valley, probably Morocco's most important Oasis, considered as a welcome relief from the dry desert, and which once was used as a passage for the caravans travellers who crossed the desert to the Mediterranean Sea.

On one of those beautiful sunny days, early in the morning, we set off, and drove up through the desert.  The views were amazing, we stopped now and again to take some pictures, or chat with the locals, or simply ask for directions.  The locals were extremely helpful, nice and polite, and they offered us some Moroccan Tea and bread, the best we had ever tasted!   Finally, we entered the gigantic dunes, we stopped and got out to enjoy the view. It was truly amazing, the place was incredible! The night sky was lit up, filled with so many shiny stars and I remember we were just standing there in the middle of sahara, speechless, starring at the sky for ages.  It was one of the places that we would undoubtedly remember for the rest of our life!

The Ziz Valley hosts a small town, called Rissani [R E S U N Y], once called "Sijilmassa", a small Oasis, and which is the capital of Tafilalt.  Rissani is the foundation of the Alaouite Dynasty, the current ruling royal family in Morocco. Early in the seventeenth century, the Dynasty was founded by Moulay Ali Sherif, and then Moulay Rachid (Ali Sherif's son) conquered Morocco and overthrew the Saâdians in 1668.   Filaliyine (People of Tafilat) are fiercely proud of their history, lineage, heritage and their identity. It's no surprise to hear a conversation between Filaliyines who would pride themselves on the fact that they were born in that specific place, and you can feel their pride has become almost a natural, and a common feeling among them.  I couldn't even remember how many times the waiter, who served our meals in a restaurant, proudly repeated that "even the late King Hassan II himself was born in this very little town and himself used to love Madfouna"!

Rissani is still an unfamiliar destination to most Moroccans and visitors maybe because it's hard to know quite what to expect before you arrive there, especially for the first time, and you can't plan anything in advance, you're totally exposed to the wild nature.  Instead, most people prefer, in general, to hang out in the big cities as Marrakesh, Agadir, Fes, Casablanca  etc..., but I think Rissani is a must place to stay if you visit Morocco.  There are so many great trips organized in the area now, including camels' ride, from one day to several days tours, depending how adventurous and willing you are to give up simple things in life such as no shower for couple days!  Like many small towns in the South of Morocco, the major source of income in this region are tourists, who visit Rissani to spend a few magic days in the pre-saharan desert.  The place is surrounded by palm trees and huge sand dunes and called by visitors "Macca of North Africa"!  In 1996, more attention was focused on this region when  Sigilmassasaurus Fossils (Tetanuran Theropod Dinosaur) were discovered in Tafilalt, near the ancient city "Sijilmassa", for which this Dinosaur was named: [Sigilmassasaurus = Sijilmassa is the ancient city and Saurus which means lizard].

In Rissani, there is one popular dish to be served in all restaurants, called Madfouna or Medfouna.Whatever way you want to spell it, either with "e or a", it still means the same dish which is a pizza with meat stuffing; often called by the visitors "Moroccan Pizza or Amazigh flatbread".  Madfouna in Moroccan language means "Buried" and it is quite similar to Calzone and Sausage Rolls with spicy meat and vegetables tucked between the crusts.  Since we tasted Madfouna in Rissani, it has become almost a weekly occurrence for us at home and my boys love it and it is surprisingly easy to make. The thing special about this bread is the adding of seeds to the dough, then just before popping it in the oven, more seeds are sprinkled over the top as lightly or liberally as you like, which add an additional texture and flavour to the bread.  The crust has a nice and crunchy texture due to the combo of semolina and all purpose flour, absolutely delicious!

To make my life easier and frankly who doesn't,  I make the dough a day in advance and store it in the fridge overnight (but I put 1/2 of the yeast, indicated in my recipe below), then the following day, I just remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to warm up and rise (about 2 hours in room temperature). Two hours give me plenty time to make my filling as well as some side dishes.  Then, time comes to assemble Madfouna and pop it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  "Boys, dinner is ready!".

There are countless variations of Madfouna:

1-The most traditional base filling is meat (lamb, beef or goat), onions, almonds, eggs, and other popular Moroccan spices. N.B. The traditional version calls for stuffing Madfouna with raw meat (usually goat meat), and which is cooked inside the bread (I cook mine before stuffing Madfouna, and it's always beef).

2-Vegetarian version contained a mixture of carrots, lentils, onions, hot pepper and lots of spices.

3-Then there is the 21th century version, with whatever filling you choose.  I usually put chopped beef steak, onions, garlic, some spices, and a lot of cheese.  This is my boys' favourite and the one I'm posting today!

I’m submitting this post to Susan's Yeastspotting, a WONDERFUL BREAD BLOG devoted to yeast bread food. Please check it out! 
Here is the recipe / Voici la recette
This recipe yields 2 large thin circles about 29 cm in diameter. / Pour 2 grands cercles, bien minces d'environ 29 cm de diamètre.
Preparation time for the dough: 0 h 20 minutes / Temps de préparation de la pâte : 0 h 20 minutes
Time to let the dough rest: 2 h 30 / Repos : 2 h 30
Preparation time for the filling: 0 h 15 minutes / Temps de préparation de la farce : 0 h 15 minutes
Cook Time:  0 h 25 minutes / Temps de cuisson: 0 h 25 minutes


For the dough / Pour la pâte:

-50 gr plain flour / 50 gr farine tout usage

-150 gr  hard unbleached flour all puprose or fine semolina / 150 gr de farine de blé dur non blanchi ou semoule très fine

-Some salt to taste / Un peu de sel selon le goût

-2 tablespoons olive oil / 2 c à soupe d'huile d'olive

-3 gr yeast, dried. I used instant yeast, but you might use fresh yeast or other type of yeast as well, but I think you have to put more than 3 gr if the fresh yeast is used / 3 gr de levure boulangère sèche.  J'ai mis la levure instantanée mais vous pouvez aussi utiliser la levure fraîche ou autres, mais je crois que vous devez mettre plus que 3 gr dans ce cas

-About 110 ml warm water / Environ 110 ml d'eau tiède

-1 tablespoons honey / 1 c à soupe de miel

-1/2 teaspoon whole green aniseeds (Green aniseeds has a very strong flavour and if you put too much of it into the dough, it will overwhelm the other flavours!)  / 1/2 c à thé  ou à café de graines d'anis vert entiers (Attention le goût est puissant ! Graines d'anis vert possèdent un goût  assez prononcé et un parfum délicat et persistant et si vous mettez trop, elles peuvent submerger les autres saveurs!)

-1/2  teaspoon  poppy seeds (These seeds are known in Moroccan Language as "Sanooj".  They are also called "Black Cumin" or "Habba Sawda" / 1/2 c à thé ou à café graines de nigelle ( Qu'on appelle au Maroc "Sanouj".  On les appelle aussi "Kamoun Aswad" qui veut dire "Cumin Noir" ou "Habba Sawda": Habba veut dire "Graine" et Sawda ou Aswad veut dire "Noir(e)")
Method: How to make the dough / Préparation de la pâte:

1-Put the flours and salt in a kasriya (9asria) or a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast, honey, aniseeds, poppy seeds and oil, then mix well with your hands, adding gradually water. Mix well to a soft dough and knead with hands for about 15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. The dough should be soft but not too sticky. If it turns out too sticky to work with, just add some flour and keep kneading. If the dough feels a bit stiff, work in additional water, small quantity at a time and keep kneading.  / Dans une kasriya (9asria) ou un grand bol, mélanger les 2 farines et sel, puis faire une fontaine au milieu, ajouter la levure, miel, anis, nigelle et l'huile, puis  bien mélanger avec les mains en ajoutant graduellement de l'eau pour former une pâte homogène.  Bien pétrir environ 15 minutes ou jusqu'à que la pâte soit souple et lisse mais pas trop collante.  Si elle est collante, ajouter un peu de farine et continuer à pétrir mais si elle est dure, ajouter un peu de l'eau et pétrir de nouveau quelques minutes.

2-Cover the dough and allow to rest for 2 hours. / Couvrir la pâte et laisser reposer pendant 2 heures.

3-Gently punch the dough down to release any air bubbles and divide it into 2 equal balls. Cover and leave them to rest for another 30 minutes./ Dégaser délicatement la pâte puis la diviser en 2 boules de dimension égales.  Couvrir et laisser reposer environ 30 minutes.
Ingredients for filling / Ingrédients pour la farce:

- 300 gr of beef steak or meat of your choice / 300 gr de steak haché de boeuf ou autres sortes de viande

-1 medium onion chopped / 1 oignon moyen, finement haché

-2  garlic cloves, crushed / 2 gousses d'ail écrasées

-1 teaspoon ground cumin / 1 c à thé ou à café de cumin moulu

-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and coriander leaves / 2 c à soupe de feuilles fraîches de persil et coriandre hachées

-Some salt to taste / Un peu de sel selon le goût

-1/2 teaspoon sweet red paprika, known as Tahmira (Ta7mira) in Morocco / 1/2 c à thé ou à café de paprika rouge ou piment doux ou Tahmira (Ta7mira) comme on l'appelle au Maroc

-1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil / 1 c à soupe d'huile d'olive extra-virgin

-Pinch of Soudaniya ghobra or hot red paprika or use red chilli powder or Tunisian Harissa / Une pincée de Soudaniya ghobra ou utilisez red chilli powder ou bien Harissa tunisienne

-Pinch of pure saffron threads (Since heat releases saffron's flavour essence and so to extract the best flavour out of it, warm it gently in the frying pan (with no oil) for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then still warm, crush it to a powder either with your hands or with the mortar and pestle). / Une petite dosette de safran pur (Pour que le safran puisse dégager et conserver mieux son arôme, chauffer légèrement à sec les filaments de safran pendant environ 3 minutes en remuant constamment, ensuite, moudre les filaments dans un mortier ou dans le creux de la main).

-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper / 1/4 c à thé ou à café de poivre noir moulu

-2 tablespoons chopped green olives / 2 c à soupe d'olives vertes hachées

-Some cheese, grated. Use any cheeses you like but if you use salty ones, put less salt in your filling./ Un peu de fromage râpé.  Utiliser le fromage qui vous convient mais si vous utilisez le fromage salé, mettre moins de sel dans la sauce.

Make the filling / Préparer la farce:

1-While the dough is rising prepare the filling. Put olive oil in a deep skillet or a sauce pot or a fry pan, and turn heat to medium. One minute later, add meat and salt then saute, stirring for about 3 minutes. / Sur un feu moyen, dans une casserole ou une poêle profonde ou autre récipient similaire, verser l'huile d'olive puis laisser chauffer environ 1 minute, puis ajouter la viande et sel et faire sauter environ 3 minutes.

2-Add onion and continue to sauté, stirring for about 3 minutes or until soft but not brown. / Ajouter l'oignon en remuant et continuer à cuire pendant environ 3 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que les oignons deviennent tendres, mais il ne faut pas qu'ils brunissent.

3-Add garlic, olives and all spices. Stir and reduce the heat and allow to cook for about 2 minutes. Don't cover and don't add water to the sauce. Try not to over cook the meat since it will finish cooking in the oven. / Ajouter l'ail, olives et toutes les épices.  Remuer et réduire le feu et laisser la sauce cuire sans couvrir pendant environ 2 minutes. Surtout, n'ajouter pas de l'eau à la sauce et ne pas trop cuire la viande puisqu'elle va finir sa cuisson dans le four.

4-Taste and adjust the seasoning; you probably will need more salt or black pepper. Cover and set aside to cool. / Goûtez et vérifier l'assaisonnement, vous aurez probablement besoin d'ajouter plus de sel ou de poivre noir. Couvrir et laisser refroidir.

Before baking Madfouna, you will need / Pour badigeonner Madfouna avant cuisson:

-1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of olive oil  and pinch of salt / 1 jaune d'oeuf mélangé avec 1 c à thé ou à café d'huile d'olive et une pincée de sel

- 1/2 teaspoon green aniseeds / 1/2 c à thé ou à café d'anis vert

-1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds / 1/2 c à thé ou à café de graines de nigelle

Stuff Madfouna / Farcir Madfouna:

1-Preheat oven at 210°C fan  / or 230°C / or 450°F / or gas mark 8 / Préchauffer le four à 210°C, équipé de système de ventilation / ou 230°C / ou 450°F / ou 8 th

2-Sprinkle the work surface with some fine semolina and roll out 1 portion of the dough into a large thin circle about 29 cm in diameter./ Saupoudrer le plan de travail d'un peu de semoule fine puis étaler 1 portion de la pâte en un grand cercle, bien mince d'environ 29 cm de diamètre.
 3-Gently transfer the circle to a fine semolina or flour-dusted baking sheet or pizza pan. / Saupoudrez de semoule fine une plaque allant au four ou un moule à pizza, puis déposer délicatement le cercle de pâte dans le moule.

4-Spread half of the cheese over the base. Don't spread the cheese to the edge, leaving at least 1 cm of dough exposed all around. / Étaler la moitié du fromage sur le centre de la croûte, mais éviter les bords, en laissant au moins 1 cm exposé tout autour.
5-Lay the steak mixture and all the juices on top of the cheese./ Suivi par le mélange de steak, incluant son jus.
6-Then spread the remaining of the cheese over the steak. / Puis finir le tout en déposant le reste du fromage dessus.
7-Brush the exposed edges of dough with egg yolk mixture. / Badigeonner les bords de Madfouna de mélange de jaune d'oeuf.

8-Sprinkle the work surface with some fine semolina and roll out the remaining portion of dough into a large thin circle about 29 cm in diameter.  Same size as the first one./ Saupoudrer le plan de travail d'un peu de semoule fine puis étaler le reste de la pâte en un grand cercle, bien mince d'environ 29 cm de diamètre. Même  taille que le premier cercle.

9-Then place it over the filling, pressing the edges to hold it together. Seal and give a nice look to the edge. / Puis placez-le sur la farce, puis presser les bords l'un contre l'autre avec les doigts pour bien sceller Madfouna. Donner une dernière touche d'esthétique, en soudant les bords à la fourchette ou autres.

10-Poke Madfouna with a fork or knife. / Piquer Madfouna avec une fourchette ou un couteau.

11-Brush Madfouna with egg yolk mixture and sprinkle more seeds over the top. / Badigeonner Madfouna de mélange de jaune d'oeuf, puis saupoudrer d'anis et de nigelle.
12-Pop it in the pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes./ Cuire Madfouna dans le four préchauffé pendant 20 à 25 minutes.

13-Enjoy! / Bssa7a w ra7a!


Rosita Vargas said…
Exquisita pizza y muy saludable,luce tentadora,me encantó,abrazos grandes.
Soumiya22 said…
aziza said…
Soumiya lah y'3ttik l'gmal, fimma mchit l'gak sba9tini, kliti kolchi madfouna o khalitini blach.......raki filaliya rana 3arfak. Appelles moi soumiya c'est urgent urgent URGENT
@mamatkamal, mon amie je suis sans parole devant la beauté de tes articles de notre cuisine marocaine et notre histroire de notre beau pays le MAROC. Rien à ajouter, soumiya a tout dit, macha2allah macha2allh 3lik mamatkamal, qu'Allah te protège et te garde et te donne tout ce que tu souhaites dans ta vie!
Rosita Vargas said…
Nous savons cela parce que votre ami fait remarquer que non publique blogue il ya trois mois et que votre dernière plublicación est Octobre 24, pouvez-vous expliquer? câlins.
Unknown said…
This looks wonderful! My mouth is watering. Would you be able to share the recipe for the spicy lentil filling?
Katy ~ said…
This looks too good for words!
That stuffed flatbread looks amazing and ever so so scrumptious!


Unknown said…
esalaamu aleikoum sister, what a interesting story and a beautiful pizza bread. enchallah i will try it as it looks so delicious machallah BArakAllahi fiki and Happy blessed Eid al Adha to you and your family! bises!
Nadji said…
J'aime beaucoup ce genre de madfouna.
A déguster avec bonheur.
Bonne fête et à très bientôt
Rosita Vargas said…
fati said…
thanks for your blog for more beauty and make up of morocco see:

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