When Ramadan comes to an end, you usually run out of cooking ideas, and the household budget is often quite plundered. Nuts and honey for the sweets, oil to deep-fry, meat and seafood for the tajines, soups, and briouats. All that is relatively expensive in Morocco. So I thought I should create a recipe that on one hand tastes typically Moroccan and on the other hand is inexpensive and, of course, veggie. And so I had the idea for this vegan fish briouats.
Briouats are Moroccan triangle-shaped pastries made of phyllo dough (‘warqa’) and stuffed with different fillings. The classic savory versions are chicken, minced meat, and fish. But there are also sweet variations with almonds or peanuts. Briouats are either deep-fried either baked in the oven. The sweet briouats are additionally bathed in warm honey.
Vegan fish briouats are, course, free of fish. The filling consists basically of vermicelli, chermoula (the famous Moroccan marinade), green olives, and bell pepper. This combination pretends the fishy taste. The fishy bite comes from cooked and sliced artichoke bottoms. If you have nori leaves at hand, you can add some of them finely chopped to the filling to get some extra fishiness into the vegan fish briouat. Unfortunately, I didn’t find them in the local supermarkets, although sushi is available in Morocco.
Artichokes are rather inexpensive in Morocco and farmwives on the markets sell them even freshly peeled. I admit I’m not good at peeling artichokes, also the hands and nails look rather dirty afterward. This video shows you how to do it. Don’t forget to remove the artichoke hair in the center and try to use gloves! Alternatively, you can use canned artichoke bottoms.
To make the vegan fish briouats crispy and at the same time less oily, I bake them in the oven. The vegan fish briouats taste best when they are freshly made and slightly cooled down! They are great as an appetizer or as a snack. Try also my other vegan briouats and my cheese briouats!
for the chermoula (marinade):
- 3 cloves of garlic
- about 1 red chili (depending on spiciness)
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
- a pinch of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley and coriander (mixed)
- about 350g warqa (Moroccan phyllo dough, about 3 leaves large size) or spring roll pastry
- 100g dry vermicelli
- 3-4 artichoke bottoms
- 2 tablespoons green olives
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- about 100ml
- salt to taste
- vegetable oil to brush the briouats
- optionally: finely chopped nori leaves (about 2 tablespoons)
- At first, soak the vermicelli in cold water. Meanwhile, peel the artichokes when you use fresh ones. Then, put the artichokes with some water and a pinch of salt into a small pot and cook them for about 20 minutes until soft. When you use canned artichoke bottoms you can skip this step, of course.
- While the artichokes are cooking and the vermicelli are soaking, you can prepare the chermoula. Therefore, put the peeled garlic cloves, roughly chopped chili and herbs together with the remaining chermoula ingredients into a blender and blend it until you have a smooth paste. Alternatively, you can chop garlic, chili, and herbs finely with a knife and mix it with the other ingredients in a bowl. Taste the chermoula. It should be strong in taste and slightly over-seasoned.
- When the artichokes are soft, drain them, halve them, and slice them. The slices should be not too thin. Next mingle the artichokes with the chermoula marinade and let them rest a little.
- Now, drain the soaked vermicelli and cut them with a clean scissor into small pieces. Also, cut the bell pepper and the olives into small chunks. I used sliced olives but for me, however, the olives were still too large. I recommend chopping them finely. You can also chop them in the blender in which you made the chermoula. You don’t need to clean it. Let the olives take a bath in the remaining chermoula! Don’t forget to remove the seeds of the olives when they are not already deseeded!
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the bell pepper on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Next, add the chopped olives and keep frying both for 1 more minute. Then, add the artichokes and give everything a good stir, keep cooking a little so that the chermoula gets slightly cooked. Finally, add the vermicelli and about 100ml of water. Stir everything well and cook the filling until all the water has evaporated and the vermicelli is nicely cooked. Taste the filling and add more salt if necessary. Set the filling aside until it has completely cooled down.
- When the filling has cooled down, it’s time to prepare the warqa. Cut the round leaves into strips of equal width stripes, 4 stripes per leaf. You can cut the whole stack of warqa at once.
- Before you start folding the briouat, preheat your oven to 200°C/ 400°F and line your tray with parchment paper. Now take a stripe and put a little of the filling (about 1 tablespoon) on the bottom. Now take the bottom left corner of the phyllo dough and fold it diagonally over the filling until you reach the right edge of the phyllo dough stripe. You created the basic shape of the briouat. Next, take the right bottom corner and fold it diagonally until you reach the left edge of the stripe. Continue folding this way until the briouat is ready. It sounds a bit complicated but it is very easy. Just try it! There will be a little phyllo dough left. Put this rest under the seam. Place the briouat on your tray seam-side down and fold the remaining briouats the same way. When you use the strips with the round edge, fold the round edge a litte to the center of the stripe to give it the right shape.
- Brush the briouats with some vegetable oil and put them into the preheated oven. Bake them for about 20 minutes until nice and crispy! The briouats are ready to serve! Enjoy!