Ainsley Harriott’s Moroccan vegetable and sesame seed parcels

During our stay in Riad Monceau in Marrakech, we were treated to a daily selection of wonderful appetisers, often including small pastries similar to these vegetable parcels (or briouats). Traditionally, a briouat is fried, but I’ve chosen to bake mine for a slightly healthier but equally tasty version.

Ainsley Harriott Moroccan vegetable parcels
Dan Jones

 MAKES 8-10

1 x pack of filo pastry
150ml olive oil, for brushing
2 tbsp sesame seeds

FOR THE FILLING

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 courgette, coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

2. First, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or a deep frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for 4-6 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the grated carrots, courgette and garlic and cook for around 5 minutes until softened and the vegetables have become dry. Add the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, and stir well to combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chopped apricots and coriander until combined.

3. Lay out the filo pastry on a clean work surface and cut each sheet lengthways into three long strips of equal width. Cover the pastry with a damp tea towel while you work so that it doesn’t dry out. Lay out one strip of filo with the short side facing you, brush with oil, then place another sheet directly on top and brush with oil again. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling mixture in the centre at the top of the pastry strips. Treating the pair of pastry strips as a single piece, fold one of the top corners down to make a triangle shape encasing the filling. Continue folding the pastry over, maintaining the triangle shape all the way down to the bottom of the strip. Brush the parcel all over with oil and place on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining filo sheets until all the filling has been used.

4. Sprinkle the parcels with sesame seeds and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pastries are crispy and golden brown. These are best served warm.

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