Moroccan Rghaif or Rghayef with spicy kefta filling
Breads and pancakes, Lunch dishes, Starters, Salads and kemia

Moroccan baked Rghaifs with seasoned Kofta (ground beef)

These savoury-filled and baked Rghaifs make a nice starter when shaped in 10 cm squares but can make a meal if served slightly bigger.

Stuffed Rghaifs with ground meat are served for a lunch of an afternoon snack along with a hot glass of Moroccan tea.

A R’ghifa (singular for Rghaifs) should be well baked from the bottom, crispy all around while soft from the inside. No soggy bottom!


Moroccan Rghaif or Rghayef with spicy kefta filling
A big Moroccan Rghaif or Rghayef with spicy kefta filling. Credit @Nada Kiffa

Rghaifs, Msemmen or mlaouis

Now the post is about the Rghaifs but you can make Msemmens or Mlaouis filled with the same mix. You will just have to pan-fry them instead of baking them. Stuffed Rghaifs turn our better when the dough is without yeast

The reason why Rghaifs are easy to handle with such filling is because you don’t have to flatten them thin as for Msemmen. So the risk if pricking them is very limited. Tadaaa..But there are people who do this so well that get them neat even as Msemmen..

This Moroccan stuffed pancake or laminated bread is freezer-friendly after baking. Just put them back in a hot oven (without thawing) and you’ll have them back to their glory.

Before we start with the recipe, I have to warn on the fact that all fillings for Rghaifs, Msemmens and Mlaouis should be left to cool and squeezed or reduced from any excess of liquid in order not to damage the dough.

Serves 8
Prep: 40 min – Baking: 20 min

Msemmen dough

  • 250 g of strong white flour
  • 250 g of fine semolina flour (not the grits)
  • 250 -300 ml of water, lukewarm
  • 1 tsp of salt

Kofta filling

  • 450 g of ground meat (beef, turkey, lamb)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbps of salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • A good pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 3 tbsps of chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • Optional ingredients for filling: green olives, grated cheese, grated carrots, chopped peppers, harissa, chopped preserved lemons

For laminating Rghaifs

  • 100 g of fine semolina flour
  • 80 ml of vegetable oil


  • 3 tbsps of oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp of paprika
Moroccan Rghaif or Rghayef with spicy kefta and pepper filling
Moroccan Rghaif or Rghayef with spicy kefta and pepper filling. Credit @Nada Kiffa


Make the kofta filling

Mix the ground beef with all the spices and herbs. Work with your hands for about 2 minutes to combine.

Option 1: pre-cook the kofta filling

In a hot pan, add the oil, chopped onions and kofta in small pieces. Keep stirring and breaking kofta all the way until all is cooked and no juice is left.

Set aside to cool.

If you are using grated vegetables, add them after Kofta is broken to bits.

If you are using grated cheese and/or olives, add when the mix has cooled.

I like to add an extra tablespoon of chopped parsley when all the mix has cooled.

Option 2: Keep the kofta filling raw

As the Rghaifs bake, some of the dough will be infused with the juice from the kofta. It tastes even better but it takes a few more minutes to bake to make sure the outer layer will be crispy.

Make Msemmen dough

Prepare a Msemmen dough without the yeast following the standard recipe I posted here. Let the dough for 15 min (covered) before making dough balls.

Shape the Rghaifs

Place the filling in the middle of the first flattened layer and shape as for Msemmen.

Place the filled and slightly flattened square of Msemmen in another layer of flattened dough (see the part about coupled Msemmens in the same post). Slighly flatten the square.

Place all filled Msemmen in an oiled baking tray. Leave at least 15 cm around and between each one as we will flatten them further before baking.

Steps to shape Moroccan Rghaif or Rghayef with spicy kefta and pepper filling
Moroccan Rghaif or Rghayef with spicy kefta and pepper filling

Oil one hand with the paprika oil (listed for finishing) and delicately flatten the Rghaifs (not too much, you should still leave them with about 3 mm height).

Baking and serving

Preheat the oven at 190-200 degrees C. bake until they look golden and nicely crispy from all sides (top and bottom).

Serve warm with a hot glass of Moroccan tea.


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