Moroccan khlii tartlets

Lactose-free Moroccan khlii tartlets


Those mini-tartlets with naturally caramelised onions and bits of khlii (which you can replace with smoky bacon) are really irresistible, especially if you serve them along with pickles.

I prefer to use this fuss-free dough as a base to make them but you can use a savoury shortcrust of puff pastry dough.

This recipe is freezer-friendly at any stage: either when you make the dough or shape it in its moulds, or fill it or even bake it all.


Moroccan khlii tartlets

Moroccan khlii tartlets. Credit @Nada Kiffa


Moroccan khlii tartlets

Moroccan bitesize khlii tartlets are easy to make. I would suggest you make you own dough unless you can'r do othewise. These tartlets are freezer-friendly at any stage of the making. Very handy for buffets and last minutes visitors.

Lactose-free dough

  • 300 gram flour
  • 90 ml boiling water
  • 10 ml white vinegar
  • 100 ml oil (50/50 olive oil/vegetable oil)
  • 5 gram baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • tarragon or thyme (optional)

For the filling

  • 2 onions (medium-size, finely sliced)
  • 100 gram khlii (or jerk meat, in small strips)
  • 100 gram cheese (grated, lactose-free or Edam, gruyère for a Non-lactose free version)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 3 sundried tomatoes (or confit of tomatoes or cherry tomatoes)

For garnishing

  • parsley leaves
  1. Start preparing the filling that needs cooking to allow time for it to cool.

Onion filling

  1. Allow the onions to sweat in olive oil for a minute. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Onions need to become tender and water must evaporate. This step should take about 20 minutes.

  3. Add the butter and herbs and stir. The onions should start turning from creamy to nicely golden.

  4. Set aside to cool. Fold in sun-dried tomatoes and bits of khlii.

The dough

  1. Mix all ingredients together except flour and baking powder which you need to add just afterwards. Combine to a dough.

  2. Roll over a floured surface as thin as you can (about 1 mm). Do not over-flour the surface so the dough keeps a good texture after it's baked.

  3. Cut shapes that will fit into your moulds, press the bottom to expel air and the edges firmly.

  4. Prick them as much as you can

  5. At this stage, you can either freeze the dough shells before or after you fill them or bake them and freeze them later on.

  6. I freeze the dough in the moulds for 15 minutes, by the time the oven is well preheated.

Assembly and baking

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Place all the mini-moulds in a baking sheet. Blank bake the dough for about 12 – 15 min.

  2. Place the onions mixed with sun-dried tomatoes and khlii bits on top. Sprinkle some grated cheese.

  3. Bake for about 5-7 minutes.Serve at room temperature.


A platter of Moroccan-style deviled eggs

Moroccan-style Deviled eggs

In Morocco, we are found of boiled eggs, sprinkled with salt and cumin and served as a sandwich with cream cheese or Jben. This is everyone’s favourite.

Hard-boiled eggs are also halved and served with cumin and salt, a spread of cheeses, cold cuts and olives for afternoon snacks after school. They’re also served on Ramadan table.

Having said that, us Moroccan tend to over-boil the eggs to a point you start seeing a grey hallow wrapping the egg yolk. Hardly anyone asks for soft egg yolk.

A quick snack

I had guests over and I decided to treat my eggs differently. So they were prepared half-way between oeufs Mimosa and deviled eggs but with a Moroccan twist.

There is nothing complicated about these eggs. They can be made a few hours ahead end left in the fridge to firm up the creamy filling.

I had some leftovers for the next days, I just made a sandwich and my lunch was ready to go.

Serve 6 
Prep: 10 min – Cooking: 12- 15 min – Chilling: at least 2 hours

  • 6 large eggs, hard boiled
  • 1 tbsp of mayo
  • 1 tbsp of creme fraiche (add one more if needed)
  • 3 tbsps of cream cheese or jben
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp of chives, chopped (or parsley)
  • 2 tbsps of spring onions, chopped
  • A pinch of cumin
  • A good pinch of ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste


Hard boil the eggs. To make sure you won’t damage them while peeling them, transfer them directly to very cold water for 1 minute. Hit each egg with a spoon and roll it between your hands so the shell breaks from all sides. Grab one bit of the shell but also the membrane under it. The rest is easy, just peel all the way through. Set aside to cool.

Next, halve the eggs in length and delicately spoon out the egg yolk. Transfer it to a small bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients, correct the seasoning and the heat to your liking.

Fill the egg white cavity. Place all the deviled eggs in a plastic container, cover and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Serve chilled with lettuce leaves or any green leaves.

Moroccan cottage cheese and cold cuts pasties

Using Jben or cottage cheese in savoury baking is a very old Arab tradition and we’re only reshaping the outcome and adding more ingredients.

As Ramadan is on its way, many Moroccans are looking for recipes to fill their tables with irresistible food.

In our family, we like to serve mini starters along with the soup of the day for Iftar/Ftour. So basically this would come in savoury and sweet version.

I personally skip the soup most of the time, I like to start with those mini bites along with a warm drink or a light juice..

I like to make sandwiches with jben (Moroccan cottage cheese) and cold cuts (Mortadella, kacher), and that’s exactly what’s inside these turnovers I’m suggesting today.

Now Jben rolls, triangles or turnovers are not freezer-friendly as they tend to burst and leak during baking. I suggest you make them the same day.


Vegetable and cold cut turnovers with puff pastry and rolls with ouarka sheets


Serves 8 -10
Prep: 25 min - Baking : 20 min
  • Rough puff pastry for turnovers or warqa/phyllo sheets for the rolls


  • 150 g of cold jben (ideally Jben Saiss)or white cheese, drained.
  • 100 g of cold cuts, chopped (Mortadella or spicy cacher, check with North African groceries)
  • 60 g of hard cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsps of green olives or gherkins, chopped
  • 2 tbsps of parsley or chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 60 g of butter, melted and cooled


Mix the ingredients listed for the filling.

Roll the dough thin and in length. Place a teaspoon of filling after each 8 cm. Fold the dough on the filling and apply pressure around the filling, letting the air escape.

Shape the small turnovers. Cut and pinch the edges to seal them. You can use egg yolk to make sure their sealed.

You can make them a few hours ahead of time. Cover and place them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them.

Egg wash each turnover and decorate it with a couple of light incisions which will also help the steam to escape. Make sure the egg wash does not go over the edges or the dough won’t puff

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C. Bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes until nicely golden.


A platter of chaussons and mini pizzas

Moroccan vegetable and cottage cheese (Jben) pasties


Vegetable and cheese pasties recipe is a nice way to start an Iftar during Ramadan or something to make for a picnic. For a lighter version, use warqa or a good phyllo dough to make them.

Preparing a Ramadan table can be a very demanding job, compute this for 30 days..Now this is not required by religion and food should not be wasted. But people tend to have some craving during the day and their wishes are granted over that Iftar table. Iftar itself is a bit like a Eid (feast) for fasting people every single day throughout the fasting month of Ramadan.

The larger the family, the more you tend to serve on an Ramadan table. The reason being that everyone has a different formula or food preferences to break the fast.

One thing we all agree on in our family: the starters. There has to be a selection of sweet and savoury rolls, triangles, turnovers, pies and quiches, stuffed msemmens. They all come in mini-shapes.

I have to say we are not the only family operating this way, I suspect most the Moroccans city-dwellers who can afford this variety do that.

It will be a blessed food if you share it with people in need, so we do regularly have someone knocking just before Iftar for food. A tray of the same food served for the family should be served to the person who is considered “Daif Allah” (God’s guest). Somehow, the food tastes even better when things go this way.

A lot of prepping goes in this. Having a freezer comes in handy since many recipes can be made ahead, or at least halfway. Check the Ramadan tag on this blog or use the search box for “freezer friendly”.

In the process of filling a Ramadan Iftar table, So far the soup of the day as well as a selection of turnovers and rolls are being placed 

Serves 6 – 8 (or double if served as starters)
Prep: 25 min – Proofing: 2 hours – Baking: 20 to 35 min (depending on shape)

The dough

  • Use a rough puff pastry for the turnovers or warqa for the rolls (a lighter version)

Base filling

  • 300 g of carrots, julienned or grated
  • 300 g of courgettes, julienned or grated
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 80 g of button mushrooms, sliced (tinned are also good, drained)
  • A handful of chopped spinach leaves or lettuce leaves
  • 100 g of cold cuts, chopped (Mortadella, spicy cacher sausages sold by North African butchers)
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 green or red pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps of parsley or chives, chopped
  • 3 tbps of green olives or pickles (gherkins, carrots, red peppers), chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 80 g of hard cheese, grated (Edam, cheddar..)
  • 80 g of white cheese (Jben, strained ricotta)
  • 1 egg yolk


Make the filling

In a large frying pan, sauté the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots, courgettes, mushrooms and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Sauté on high heat for another 3 minutes while stirring. Season and carry on cooking for another 3 minutes at maximum. Set aside to cool.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the white cheese (jben or ricotta). Place the mix in a sieve and press it. You don’t want to have any liquid coming out in the dough.

Shaping the turnovers

Roll the dough in length as much as you can but only maximum 2 mm thick. Place a tablespoon of vegetable filling, then top it with white cheese. Space between each filling.

Fold the dough on the filling and apply pressure on the sides all around it making sure to get rid of any air that might be trapped. You could smear egg yolk inside the edges to make sure the dough sticks but make sure it’s not too much or it won’t stick.

Cut all around the pressed surface each “half moon”. Pinch the edges or decorate them in any way you know.

Place the turnovers on a baking tray, covered with baking paper.


Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C. Egg wash each turnover. Make sure the egg wash does not go over the edges or the dough won’t puff.

Give the top a couple of incisions. I also make a small hole with a knife right in the middle  Bake for about 20 mins at 190 degrees C or until nicely golden.

Serve at room temperature.