The original Mafrum or (Boulettes in Tunisia) is a meat patty nestled between slices of potatoes, then coated in flour and eggs, pan fried and cooked in a thin tomato sauce. It is usually served without any sauce on couscous or rice with your favorite north African stew or soup along any north African salad like tirshi, Msier and marmumaThis is a staple of Libyan and Tunisian home cuisine and is usually served as a part of a Friday or a holiday dinner.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

I’m eating this patty every week since I was a little child since my mom and grandmother used to make it every Friday to go along with the couscous. So….today I’m bringing you a cruelty-free version of the mafrum that by no means less tasty than the original recipe and most of the credits for this veganized recipe go to my mom <3.

You might  wonder why bother veganizing such an obscure dish, for that I’ll say that mafrum for a north African is just like a hamburger for an American, and we all know how many vegan burger recipes are out there 🙂

Before going into the details of the recipe, I would like to note that this is not a easy or a simple recipe like many of the recipes I post here; there are multiple steps in it, and each is very important for achieving the final taste and texture. The vegan version tastes very similar to the non vegan version of the patty and carries the same texture, I know that for certain because I’ve tasted the original for many years and everyone in my family who had tasted it said that it is delicious and will gladly eat it when they come to visit.

One last note: though mafrum is usually made as a patty between potatoes, you can substitute potatoes for any other hard vegetable like zucchini, eggplant, fennel, artichoke, cauliflower, carrot, dried red pepper etc’.

Ingredients (for about 14 Mafrums):

1 cup of walnuts + 2 cups of black/red bean – cooked, drained – processed in a food processor (you can use veggie meat crumbles to more meaty texture)

1 cup – finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup – finely chopped cilantro

1 big onion – diced

1 TBS of Kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 tsp – freshly ground black pepper

4 potatoes

2 zucchini

4 dried peppers

1/2 cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of day old bread (wet and squeeze out of water)

1/2 cup of chickpea or lentils flour

1 tsp paprika or 1 tsp of tomato paste

Vegetable oil for frying

Tomato

2 cloves of garlic – peeled.

Directions:

Preparing the patty mixture

1. Finely dice the onion, put in a sieve and mix with 1 TBS of Kosher salt. Add the parsley and cilantro on top of the onion and set aside. We would like to extract some of the spiciness out of the onion and soften it a bit. It will extract about 1/4 of a cup of liquids while we prepare the rest of the ingredients. Don’t skip this step, it is crucial to the final flavor of the Mafrum.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

2. Blend the cooked beans with the walnuts in a food processor until smooth. If you use veggie meat crumbles, you can skip this step, though I would recommend to wash the veggie crumbles in a sieve under some running water to extract all the spices that are in it. We have our own spices 🙂

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

In this pic you can see the ratio between the cilantro (on the cutting board) and the parsley

3. Add the following spices to our meat substitute and mix well: 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/2 tsp – ground coriander, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, two cloves of garlic – minced.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

4. Now, we will prepare the vegetables that we are going to fill with our mixture, there are many ways to prepare it, the best way (that requires the use of a bird’s beak knife) to hold the filling  is to create some kind of a nest for the patty as shown in the following pic:

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

If you are filling some dry pepper (one of my favorite mafrum), you will have to soften it by soaking it in hot water for about 10 minutes. If you have any vegetable leftovers, you can grate them on top of the onions and parsley, we will later use them in the patty mixture.

5. Wash the onion, parsley and grated veggies under running water and squeeze well!

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

6. Add the onion and vegetables to the bean mixture and mix well. Add the soaked and squeezed bread or the breadcrumbs into the mixture and mix again. Now you can start filling the veggies with the mixture.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

Frying the mafrum

7. Mix the garbanzo beans flour with paprika and water until it reaches a creamy texture. A good sign for the right consistency (how much water to add) is that if you insert a spoon into it and take it out, it will stay coated all around.

8. Heat oil in a pan to a medium high heat. With tow spoons, dip the patty inside the mixture, make sure it is coated all around and transfer to oil. The oil should reach about half the height of the patty.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

9. When the part that is in the oil is golden brown, flip the patty to the other side.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

10. When the patties are fried all around, transfer to a plate.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

The patty is inside these dry spicy red peppers – yum!!

 Cooking the mafrum in tomato sauce

11. Take a large enough pan that can fit in one layer all the mafrum that you would like to make. Put about 1 TBS of oil, 1 tomato – sliced, salt, pepper and two cloves of garlic and fry until the tomatoes’ flesh separates from the skin. BTW, if you made, say 14 patties, but you planning to serve only 7 during dinner, you can freeze the fried patties and cook them in a later date.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

12. Add the patties in one layer on top of the sauce you’ve just cooked.

13. Add water, leave 1/8″ (1/2 cm) uncovered with water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

14. Remove the lid and cook on low-medium heat until all water evaporates.

Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe

 Printable recipe:

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Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Serves: 14
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of walnuts + 2 cups of black/red bean - cooked, drained - processed in a food processor (you can use veggie meat crumbles to more meaty texture)
  • 1 cup - finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup - finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 big onion - diced
  • 1 TBS of Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • ¼ tsp - freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 dried peppers
  • ½ cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of day old bread (wet and squeeze out of water)
  • ½ cup of chickpea or lentils flour
  • 1 tsp paprika or 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic - peeled.
Instructions
Preparing the patty mixture
  1. Finely dice the onion, put in a sieve and mix with 1 TBS of Kosher salt. Add the parsley and cilantro on top of the onion and set aside. We would like to extract some of the spiciness out of the onion and soften it a bit. It will extract about ¼ of a cup of liquids while we prepare the rest of the ingredients. Don't skip this step, it is crucial to the final flavor of the Mafrum.
  2. Blend the cooked beans with the walnuts in a food processor until smooth. If you use veggie meat crumbles, you can skip this step, though I would recommend to wash the veggie crumbles in a sieve under some running water to extract all the spices that are in it. We have our own spices 🙂
  3. Vegan Mafrum - Stuffed Vegetables - North African Recipe
  4. In this pic you can see the ratio between the cilantro (on the cutting board) and the parsley (in the sieve)
  5. Add the following spices to our meat substitute and mix well: ¼ tsp of black pepper, ½ tsp - ground coriander, ½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, two cloves of garlic - minced.
  6. Now, we will prepare the vegetables that we are going to fill with our mixture, there are many ways to prepare it, the best way (that requires the use of a bird's beak knife) to hold the filling is to create some kind of a nest for the patty as shown in the following pic:
  7. If you are filling some dry pepper (one of my favorite mafrum), you will have to soften it by soaking it in hot water for about 10 minutes. If you have any vegetable leftovers, you can grate them on top of the onions and parsley, we will later use them in the patty mixture.
  8. Wash the onion, parsley and grated veggies under running water and squeeze well!
  9. Add the onion and vegetables to the bean mixture and mix well. Add the soaked and squeezed bread or the breadcrumbs into the mixture and mix again. Now you can start filling the veggies with the mixture.
Frying the mafrum
  1. Mix the garbanzo beans flour with paprika and water until it reaches a creamy texture. A good sign for the right consistency (how much water to add) is that if you insert a spoon into it and take it out, it will stay coated all around.
  2. Heat oil in a pan to a medium high heat. With tow spoons, dip the patty inside the mixture, make sure it is coated all around and transfer to oil. The oil should reach about half the height of the patty.
  3. When the part that is in the oil is golden brown, flip the patty to the other side.
  4. When the patties are fried all around, transfer to a plate.
Cooking the mafrum in tomato sauce
  1. Take a large enough pan that can fit in one layer all the mafrum that you would like to make. Put about 1 TBS of oil, 1 tomato - sliced, salt, pepper and two cloves of garlic and fry until the tomatoes' flesh separates from the skin. BTW, if you made, say 14 patties, but you planning to serve only 7 during dinner, you can freeze the fried patties and cook them in a later date.
  2. Add the patties in one layer on top of the sauce you've just cooked.
  3. Add water, leave ⅛" (1/2 cm) uncovered with water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and cook on low-medium heat until all water evaporates.