30 April 2014

Local Ingredient Spotlight: Making Warka Pastry

Warka dough, also known as waraka or feuilles du brik, is the dough used to make North African pastries and the fried stuffed packets known as brik and briouat. Many people think warka dough is just another version of fillo dough, and while the applications are quite similar, the dough techniques themselves are very different. Unlike fillo, which is a thin flour-water dough rolled with a rolling pin, warka dough is a very sticky dough that is rubbed directly onto a griddle to cook. The result is a very thin but pliable and almost rubbery dough that is very easy to work with.

My husband was able to get this video of warka being made in the market in Fez (thanks to the kind lady for tolerating us!).

In Algiers freshly made feuilles du brik are always found in butcher shops, where they will be piled atop the counter along with freshly made rechta noodles. The picture up top is of a batch I picked up at my local butcher the other day.

If you are reading this entire post saying to yourself, "what on earth is a brik, and since when was brik a food group?" Fear not, my friends! Brik is basically just the North African version of spring rolls, and a cousin to Turkish bourek, and I'll have a recipe for a simple cheese brik coming up soon!


lotusmoss said...

It's very cool to see this being made--thanks for the great video! I remember having this for breakfast in Fez many times with my host family, who favored many layers of brik dough doused with extra butter and honey on top.

Of course, it's a matter of preference, but I was really happy when they realized that I preferred a slice of baguette and a boiled egg. Brik, at least the kind I had, was very, very heavy on the stomach! :)

Mercedes said...

Lotusmoss-- I don't think that's brik you had, I think it is mesemmen. A sort of flaky layered dough that's made with lots of butter? It is heavy and usually served for brekfast (brik is usually stuffed with cheese and not served for breakfast). There's a few posts on here about mesemmen, for your reference.

lotusmoss said...

@Mercedes- Thanks for the correction, that must be the case! Someone just misidentified it to me to as brik, but sounds like its messemen. Super rich, and often served with more butter + honey.

Regardless, thanks for all of the recipes, but also the identifications and intricacies of various Middle Eastern foods. I always love reading your blog.