Berber Pizza or Madfouna
Berber pizza or Madfouna is a typical dish in the Sahara desert of Morocco, in this post we are going to tell you how to prepare it and what is it, and where to eat it, Now, let’s uncover a beloved dish among backpackers, which can also be elevated to a sophisticated experience: the Berber pizza, known as Madfouna. Below, we will delve into its components and suggest spots where you can relish this culinary delight.
Berber Pizza or Madfouna: what is it
It’s called Madfouna, this Moroccan culinary gem bears resemblance to a pizza, boasting a circular shape and an array of ingredients. Named ‘Berber’ due to its popularity among Berber culture members, especially in desert regions, It is often called “desert pizza”.
Closer to an ’empanada,’ its dough made from flour and wheat semolina envelops a filling on both sides. This filling could feature minced beef, lard, vegetables (like carrots and onions), hard-boiled eggs, toasted almonds, and a myriad of other ingredients. Spices like turmeric, coriander, black pepper, and ginger add a distinct touch.
Notably, Madfouna preparation method varies. At home, electric ovens can be used, while restaurants often opt for wood-fired ovens for a unique flavor. Those seeking authenticity might embrace the traditional sand-baking technique. The dough-covered delight rests atop hot embers in a sand pit. After browning, it’s flipped and the other side cooked—sans any wrapping. The final touch? A thorough shake to shed any remaining sand.
Where to Eat Berber Pizza
Indeed, the berber pizza, known as Madfouna, is an emblematic desert dish. This makes it easily accessible in the southernmost towns, nestled amidst the desert landscapes. For instance, the traditional Rissani market is a prime spot, as outlined in our previous post. The Tafilalet oasis has also embraced it, turning into a tourist favorite. Even within the desert, Madfouna graces tent camps and waystation stops along routes.
Seeking a more leisurely encounter with Madfouna? Traditional Moroccan restaurants feature it on their menus, not solely limited to desert areas. Marrakech and Agadir, for instance, offer opportunities to relish this delight.
For those journeying with the Best Morocco Travel agency, rest assured. We will ensure you savor the finest Berber pizza during your itinerary, whether within desert depths or another urban gem on your tour. It promises to be a highlight of your vacation!
How to Prepare Perber Pizza
If you believe that all pizzas are alike, the Madfouna (known locally) or Berber pizza (a term for tourists) will surely amaze you. This Moroccan desert dish is much more than a pizza – it’s an empanada.
The filling of this Berber or Madfouna “pizza” comprises vegetables, eggs, an array of spices, and the meat of your choice. While chicken, lamb, or beef are commonly used, the most authentic version features dromedary meat. The dough mirrors the typical Berber bread.
While modern versions are baked in wood-fired ovens, the traditional approach involved burying the pizza in preheated sand accompanied by hot coals. The result is an extraordinary blend of crispy dough and a flavorful, succulent filling. Now, with a deeper understanding of this Moroccan culinary gem, let’s delve into its preparation.
Here’s a Breakdown of the Madfouna ingredients for Your Reference:
- 400 g wheat flour
- 200 g wheat semolina
- 10 g fresh yeast
- 400 ml warm water
- 30 ml olive oil
- 10 g salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 400 g minced beef
- 1 red onion
- 1 carrot
- 40 g ointment butter
- 40 g toasted almonds
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- A handful of fresh coriander
- Olive oil
These ingredients come together to create the delicious and distinctive Madfouna, offering a taste of Morocco culinary heritage.
We Start By Preparing the Dough
To prepare the Madfouna dough, start by combining the flour, wheat semolina, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Create a well in the center and pour in the oil, warm water, and yeast. Mix until the yeast dissolves and gradually integrate all the ingredients.
Once a dough forms, transfer it onto a tabletop and knead for about 15 minutes. Alternatively, a mixer can be used for this step.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to rest in a warm spot for around 1 hour until it doubles in size.
Now, let’s prepare the filling. In a separate bowl, combine the meat, diced onion, grated carrot, chopped fresh cilantro, salt, a medley of spices, softened butter, and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix thoroughly, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
With the dough ready, place it on a floured surface, degas it, and divide it into two portions, with one being larger than the other.
Roll out the larger portion into a circular shape using a rolling pin until it reaches approximately 30 cm in diameter.
Lay this larger dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Fill it with the prepared mixture, ensuring to leave a 2 cm border around the edges.
Sprinkle the chopped almonds and diced hard-boiled eggs on top of the filling.
Roll out the smaller portion of dough to cover the filling, then place it on top and seal the edges with the larger dough.
Gently flip the Madfouna over, dust it with a touch of flour, and place it in a preheated oven at 220ºC for about 30 minutes.
Once baked, remove it from the oven and savor the flavors.