MOROCCAN CIGARS WITH HARISSA DIPPING SAUCE
These Moroccan appetizers are filled with a spicy beef mixture and are shaped like a large cigar with allspice and ginger. The Moroccans have been influenced in their cuisine, by the Romans, Arabs, and even earlier by the Phoenicians. They brought the use of many spices such as cinnamon, ginger, paprika, saffron, cumin, and turmeric. Some were in the briouats and others are in these cigar pastries.
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound of Warqa (square spring roll rice paper wrappers are a great substitute)
1½ cups onions, finely chopped
1¼ cups butter, melted
1 dozen eggs, well beaten
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
1 cup safflower oil
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground allspice
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Harissa powder
1 pound plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
In a medium pan melt the 2 tablespoons butter and sauté the garlic and onion in a small pan over medium heat until soft and set aside. In a large frying pan melt ¼ cup of the butter and cook the ground beef with the seasonings for 5 to 6 minutes stirring until the meat is cooked through. Beat the eggs and parsley in a bowl and add to the meat along with the onions. Cook for a few of minutes until the eggs are cooked and set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Lay out a warqa or spring roll wrappers. Melt the remaining butter and brush each one. Place 2 tablespoons of filling spread out along the wrapper, ½” from the edge. Fold the nearest edge of the wrapper over the filling and continue rolling. Tuck in the edges and keep rolling into a cigar shape. If it breaks, the filling may be too wet or hot from cooking. If that is the case, use a second dough strip. Repeat the process until all the meat has been used.
In a medium frying pan heat the oil to high and fry each of the cigars turning them to brown on both sides. Or drop them in a fryer to quickly cook them, then drain and serve. They can be prepared ahead and reheated in a 300ºF. (150ºC.) oven for 10 minutes.
HARISSA DIPPING SAUCE:
Purchase Harissa powder (a Tunisian seasoning mix), which comes pre-made in a jar, and mix 1 tablespoon with 1 pound of plain yogurt and ¼ cup of chopped mint. Serve the Harissa sauce with both the briouats and the cigars.
The butter and eggs are of water, the parsley is of air, the beef is of earth, and the rice wrappers are of air of fire. Allspice, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, olive oil, and red pepper flakes are all of fire, and the onion is water of fire. Harissa sauce is made of coriander and caraway seeds, garlic, dried red bell peppers and crushed red pepper, olive oil and sugar. Sugar and caraway seed are of air, the cayenne, coriander, garlic and olive oil are of fire, and the dried bell pepper is air of fire.