Urbana, Ill - Today's recipe will transport you to the beautiful country of Morocco.
We get a taste of the cuisine in the c-i kitchen with U of I student chef Ahlyshiah Mahan. She shares her appetizer recipe Harcha.
A deep fried semolina flour stuffed with a savory cheese, onion, and olives mix on top of a Monterrey jack and Cheddar cheese roux dish.
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Moroccan Stuffed Harcha
2 cups fine semolina
2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp dry fresh
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup milk or water
1/4 cup coarse or fine semolina (for shaping)
For the filling:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
small handful Edam (or other variety) cheese, grated or crumbled
small handful chopped olives, black or green
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dry za'atar or oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne or black pepper
In a mixing bowl, blend together the fine semolina, za'atar, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the olive oil and mix with your hands to achieve a sandy-textured mixture.
Add 3/4 cup milk or water and mix until a dough forms. It should be quite soft-think of the texture of wet sand- and easily packed into a large mound. Add additional milk if necessary to achieve this consistency. Divide dough into four or six portions. Leave the dough to rest while you prepare the filing.
Saute the onion in a tablespoon of oil for a few minutes, just until crisp tender. Remove from the heat and mix in the remaining ingredients. Set aside.
Preheat a griddle or large frying pan over medium low heat. While the griddle is heating, sprinkle a tray or work surface with a little semolina and pat out two portions of dough into circles about 1/4" thick. Generously top once circle with some filling and then place another circle of dough on top. Pinch and mold the edges together to seal. Gently flatten the stuffed dough to about 3/8" thick and transfer the harcha to the heated pan or griddle. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Cook the stuffed harcha over fairly low heat, about seven to ten minutes on each side, until a medium golden color. Turn only once and don't allow the harcha to color too quickly as it needs some to cook all the way through.
Savory harcha are best served warmed. They can be cut into wedges for individual servings.