North African Stuffed Flatbreads

stuffed flatbreads

stuffed flatbreads

Inspired by something I spotted in a magazine, I did a quick bit of internet trawling to see what typically might go into a stuffed flatbread from the afore-mentioned region, and came up with something I thought should work more or less.


for the dough –

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 330g room temp water
  • 1/2 tsp of instant yeast
  • 1 tsp of salt

for the stuffing –

  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped (small as you can)
  • 1/2 a large bunch of coriander, very finely chopped
  • 1 standard red chilli, very, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin spice (preferably from freshly ground cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon spice
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • pinch salt
  • veg oil for mixing (about 2-3 tblspn)

Mix up the dough ingredients and set aside to prove whilst you prepare the stuffing. To make the stuffing, the hard part is in chopping everything really REALLY finely (don’t use a food processor because it will turn everything to mush) and then once that’s done, just mix the stuffing ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Shaping the flatbreads:

Once the dough is sufficiently proven, its time to shape each individual flatbread, stuff it, and bake it on a heavy-bottomed pan or griddle.  Place said implement on the hob and let it warm up to a low to moderate heat while you work on shaping your flatbreads.

Take about 75-80g of dough, form it into a ball and then, on a very lightly-oiled surface, squash it down and start to work it into a square. As you work it, give it time to relax, and don’t hesitate to lightly oil the work surface with a tiny bit more oil to ensure it can stretch further as you work it.

You are aiming to achieve something with a uniform thickness of about 1-2mm, as square in shape as you can. Now to fill the flatbread.  You are going to be folding it across into half, and then again to end up with a small square – imagine a napkin that you fold in half lengthways, and then again in half sideways – the result is a square quarter of the size of the original.

Given this visualisation, take a dessert spoon-full of stuffing and place it in the middle of what will become the resultant square, once the folding is done. Note there should be no stuffing at the edge of the dough, you want a cm or so boundary around the stuffing, so that it won’t leak out when you bake the flatbread. Now fold lengthways in half, over and sealing in the stuffing, before then folding again sideways and onto the part containing the stuffing. Gently press down with oiled hands to compress the flatbread a little but be careful not to cause the stuffing to break through the dough surface.

Now place the flatbread onto the hot surface of the frying pan or griddle and don’t touch it for at least a minute, otherwise the surface will break and spoil the final product. Use a spatula to check for cooking progress (light to medium brown spots will appear on the surface touching the pan, which is what you want), and turn over to do the same on the other side once you’re happy with the first side’s colouration.

Allow to rest for a minute or so once cooking is completed and then eat, or let cool and reheat later if desired. Follow the above steps for the remaining 10 flatbreads that the dough should yield.

Serve with something like moroccan tagine, sweet mint raita or whatever takes your fancy.