Moroccan vegetable rghaif pastry with a view from inside

Moroccan baked Rghaifs with vegetables, a family favourite

My mother’s Rghaifs or Rghayef with vegetables are a family favourite including children. The recipe consists of making a batch of Msemmen dough, cook some common vegetables all Moroccans would have in their kitchen (potatoes, carrots, courgette, turnip..).
The vegetable Rghaif are made small to medium but we prefer them on the small side. They are meant to be a cheap starter served during lunch but they are also good for picnics, buffets. They can also be served as part of an array of mini-rghaif to cover all requests (meaty version, spicy version..)
We make extra Rghaifs and we freeze them for another day. They just need to go to a hot oven (without thawing them).
This is a family recipe ..
Moroccan vegetable rghaif pastry in a spiral shape

Moroccan vegetable rghaif pastry. Credit @Nada Kiffa



For 15 small Rghaifs
Prep: 60 min / Cooking time: 20 min

Rghaif/Msemmen dough

  • 250g of strong white flour
  • 250g of fine semolina flour
  • A pinch of dried instant yeast (optional and only for cold days)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 260-280 ml of water, lukewarm

For laminating the Rghaifs

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

Extras for finishing and baking

  • 1 egg yolk for egg wash (optional)
  • Oil for the baking trays

Vegetable filling

  • 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of grated courgettes/zuccini
  • 2 cups of grated carrots
  • 2 cups of grated potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup of grated white or purple turnip
  • 1/2 cup of sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely crushed
  • 1 cup of coriander and parsley, chopped
  • 1 cube of bouillon or equivalent in powder
  • 3 tbps of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tbps of sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne (optional)


Make the vegetable filling

In a non stick plan, stir all the ingredients together and cook the vegetables for no more than 5 minutes. When they’re finely grated, they will cook quite fast.
Since potatoes are in the mix, they tend to get the mix to stick at the bottom of the pan so just keep stirring.
Correct the seasoning and set aside to cool in a strainer. Squeeze to get rid of excess liquid if any.
It’s better to grate the vegetables and cook them just about Al dente. You could also cut the vegetables in tiny cubes.
A spoonful of pre-diced and cooked vegetables for the filling of rghaifs

A spoonful of pre-diced and cooked vegetables for the filling of rghaifs. Credit @Nada Kiffa.


Make Rghaif/Msemmen dough

Mix all ingredients with 3/4 of the water. Knead for 10 minutes by machine or 20 minutes by hand Add the 1/4 of water progressively during the kneading process when needed.

The dough should be smooth and kneaded to a perfect elasticity. Cover and set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes so the dough relaxes a bit.

Shape vegetable Rghaifs

Oil your hands, make balls the size of an apricot and smear them with oil (see how we shape the balls. Place all the dough balls in an oiled tray.

Cover with foil or cling film while you prepare the work top and preheat the oven at 180 degrees.. Place them on a table or an oiled tray.

Roll the balls one by one with the palm of the hand and then with oiled fingers gently stretching the dough in all directions until it is thin (transparent) and spread evenly. Sprinkle with fine semolina flour (optional).

The process of making mini- Rghaifs with vegetables
(click on the picture to make it bigger)

Place a few tablespoons of the vegetable filling and shape a Rghifa square by folding the opposite sides on each others. At this stage, the filled square should from 6 to 12 cm large. 

If you want to make them slightly bigger (more than 6 cm), you could double the dough layer (see post related to Msemmen). In this case, you can also put in more filling.


Place on a baking sheet and leave about 15 cm space around each Rghifa. Flatten slightly and brush with egg wash (optional). They should be around 10 cm (from 6 cm) and 18 cm from (12 cm) large by now.

Baking Rghaifs

Make preheat the oven to 180-200 degrees C depending how big the oven is. Bake for about 20 min or until golden from top and bottom,

You will need a good glass of tea with mint to digest ..


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