Four Seasons Bangkok WGF: Fatema Hal

Posted on September 16, 2006 by Aun


lamb tagine with olives, eggplant and lemon confit

One of the chefs attending this year’s Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok’s World Gourmet Festival whose food I was most excited to try was Fatema Hal. Ms Hal is considered by many to be one of the most important proponents of Moroccan cuisine on our planet. Over the past 21 years, at her restaurant in Paris, La Mansouria, she’s been introducing countless foodies to the joys of this once over-looked but now trendy cuisine. More importantly, Ms Hal has, during the same period, dedicated much energy and research to recording the most authentic and often rare recipes from her homeland. She’s both advocate and historian, ambassador and anthropologist.

During the World Gourmet Festival, diners who attended Fatema’s two 5-course dinners raved about her exotic and delicious food. S and I were lucky enough to catch one of her equally popular cooking classes, during which she showed us how to make spicy shrimp briwatte; a lamb tagine with olives, eggplant and lemon confit; and gazelle horns with sesame seeds. It was interesting to hear from Fatema that while tagines are served in their traditional bowls, hardly anyone uses these tall, attractive tools for cooking anymore. Almost everyone, she told us, cooks tagines in dutch ovens or cocottes.

I’ve decided to post Ms Hal’s briwatte recipe. A briwatte is something similar to a fried spring roll. It’s traditionally shaped like a long cigar, but for our class, Ms Hal shaped them in triangles, like samosas. They’re easy to make and Ms Hal’s filling was actually quite tasty. The combination of herbs and spices was very nice and pleasantly evocative. I could easily imagine snacking on these on a lazy afternoon in Marrakech.

Briwatte aux Crevettes Pimentées (Spicy Shrimp Briwatte)
Makes approximately 24

2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
250 grams shrimps, peeled
1 coriander root washed and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
1 tomato, peeled and finely diced
1 green chilli (optional)
12 sheets briks (this can be substituted with spring roll skins)
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked

Heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic, coriander, salt, cumin and lemon juice. Lower the heat and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for approximately 3 minutes.

Add the diced tomato and cook for another 7 minutes before adding the peeled shrimps and green chilli. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes before removing the pan from the heat. Let the mixture cool.

Halve the brik sheets (or spring roll skins). According to Ms Hal, a spoonful of filling should be placed in the middle of a half sheet. Roll the sheet to form a cigar, folding the two ends in at the same time. (I’m guessing that it should look like a spring roll.) Seal the parcel with some egg yolk. Repeat with the remaining sheets.

Deep-fry the briwatte in oil for 5 minutes or until they are light golden brown.

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About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Jennifer Klinec September 16, 2006 at 2:16 am

    Wow – these look amazing.

    I recently made brik dough for the first time and was amazed at how easy it was after years of just using store-bought brik dough or substituting phyllo pastry. I’d really recommend to people to give it a try. The key is to use a really good quality flour and to let the dough rest in between stretchings so that you avoid it tearing.

    I use the ‘Strong Canadian Flour‘ that you can buy at Waitrose here in the UK. Its the best flour I’ve ever used.

    The recipe and method are as follows:

    Dough (sorry N. American Measurements):

    -2.5 cups flour
    -1 egg, whisked
    -1 tsp salt
    -1 tbsp neutral vegetable oil like sunflower
    -3/4 cup water

    Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well and add the egg, oil, and water. With a spoon stir around the edge of your well of liquid, slowly incorporating the flour into the liquid until it all comes together into a dough.

    Remove to a work surface and knead the dough for 5 – 10 minutes or until very smooth and elastic.

    Place the oil in a bowl and rub it with a teaspoon or so more of sunflower oil until it is has a light coating of oil. This will protect it from drying out. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

    To work with the dough, place it in the middle of a table covered with cotton table cloth. Slowly, working from underneath the dough outwards, ‘pull’ the dough towards you by drawing your hands underneath the dough, palm side down, and sliding them towards you. The dough should start to stretch out as it gets pulled across the tops of your hands. Do this in stages, letting the dough rest for a minute or so in between a few pulls. You should eventually be able to pull the dough the whole way across your table. You may need to chop off a few pieces and reserve depending on your table size. Brush the dough with a bit of oil or melted butter to keep it from drying out.

    Use immediately.

    Hope this inspired someone to make their own ‘brik’ dough. It really is worth trying.

    Jennifer Klinec

    Eat Drink Talk

  2. Tony of bachelor cooking September 16, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Lamb tagine is looking great…
    Lamb remains my favorite meat..
    Would love to try this out.. BTW
    Have you tried the lamb vindaloo

    or

    the lamb rogan josh

  3. Lilo September 17, 2006 at 5:44 am

    Fatema Hal is very wellknown in France. All her recipes are wonderful, authentic, generous and easy too ! Try it !

  4. Vanessa Frida September 19, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Chubby Hubby,

    Do you know where i can get a CLAY targine? Not the cast iron ones?

    I would really like to invest in one, but I don’t know where to purchase one in Singapore.

    Thank you for your time :)

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