Results tagged “warka”

Warka Workshop, Sat 8th May 2010

Places at this special North African cookery class are limited, so email me now if you're interested.  Cost is £80 per person, which will include a full day of hands-on cooking class and a delicious Moroccan lunch.  The venue is a beautiful kitchen in north London.

Smwarkamaking0001.JPG"But what's warka?" I hear you ask. 

It's North Africa's version of Greek filo pastry, or Turkish yufka.  But rather than being rolled, these paper-thin leaves of dough are made in the most unusual way.  Basically, you smear daubs of sticky dough over a super-hot metal plate, while trying not to burn your fingers.  We learnt all about it in Morocco - see a video clip of Khadija demonstrating her craft here.  (The video takes a few minutes to load, but have patience, it's worth it.)

Smbstila0001.JPGWarka is wonderfully versatile.  It can be used to wrap, roll and layer all kinds of sweet and savoury dishes, from little fried pastries ('briwat'), to large baked pigeon and almond pies (Morocco's famous 'pastilla'/'bstila'), and honey-drenched nut-filled tea-time treats. 

I have been lucky enough to meet a fantastic French chef called Sylvain Jamois.  Sylvain is the only person I know outside Morocco who can make warka.  Even in Morocco it's a dying skill.  Sylvain learnt how to make warka while working at Moro restaurant in London and remembers his Moroccan uncle using it to make delicious tuna and egg parcels. 

During the class Sylvain and I will teach you how to make warka from scratch and how to use it in several different North African recipes, including Moro's delicious crab brik - Tunisian spicy fried parcels.  We'll even show you how to cook live crabs and pick out the meat. 

smrawbriwats0001.JPGThis class will be a rare opportunity to try making warka, and bound to be an experience you'll remember, if never repeat!  Don't come in your best shoes...

And if you don't see yourself ever slaving over the warka hotplate again, don't worry.  Filo pastry works in all the recipes too, and we'll tell you where to buy ready-made warka in London. 

Smahmedtea0001.jpgThe class will end with a quick lesson in making Moroccan mint tea the traditional way, and of course sampling all your freshly made warka dishes.  There will be lots of recipes to take home.

For more information and to book your place, please email Anna.    

Where the warka women work

Smbarnabywarka0001.jpgEver since he got to Morocco, Barnaby has been searching for warka.  He'd already learnt about yufka in Turkey and filo in Greece.  So he was excited to hear that in Morocco they also love incredibly thin pastry - but have a totally different way of making it!

But could he find it?  It kept turning up in food like the famous pastilla pie, and the little briwat pastries he saw all over the place.  But nobody seemed to sell it on its own, let alone actually make it themselves - so where did it come from?

Well, today he found out.  Hidden away in their homes down little alleyways in medinas all over the country, there are women like Khadija, sitting at big round hotplates, making warka to sell to restaurants and patisseries.

But rather than rolling the dough out like their Turkish cousins, they take handfuls of sloppy, sticky dough and smear it directly onto the hot metal.  Ouch! thought Barnaby - especially when he tried it himself.  It's not easy, particularly if your hands are furry.  Best leave it to the warka women ...

Real fast food

Smwarkahand0001.JPGWe came across warka being made the old-fashioned way by Khadija in her home in Essaouira.  Warka is the ultra-thin pastry used to make lots of classic Moroccan dishes, such as pastilla and briwat.  It looks a bit like the Turkish yufka and Greek filo, but is made completely differently: there's no rolling, just a lot of dangerous-looking hand-to-hotplate action. 

You might think this kind of manual cooking is the epitome of Slow Food, but it takes only seconds - at least, when you know how to do it.  Check out Khadija's technique, and just how fast she knocks them out, by clicking on the picture to watch the video:



Culinary Anthropologist