Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How to Make Authentic Warka Pastry Leaves (Filo Pastry/Phyllo Pastry) at Home Easily


What is Moroccan Warqa Pastry Leaves?

Warqa Pastry Leaves (or Ouarka, warkha, warka) (Filo or phyllo, Greek: "leaf") - Filo's likely originated in the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Warqa is a union of Berber cooking and Arab influences drawn from its Persian heritage. Via the Silk Road, the Persians had learned the art of making thin pastry from the Chinese.

Moroccan warqa (called malsouqa in Tunisia and dioul in Algeria) is made precisely the same way as Chinese spring roll skins. In Canton, this type of pastry is called chun gun: it should not be confused with the thicker egg roll skin. Though many people confuse this type of pastry with Greek phyllo dough and Hungarian strudel leaves. The warqa- spring roll skin type is found only in China and North Africa.

Warqa is used for making pastries such as baklava and börek in Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines.  Baklava is probably the earliest dish using filo, and was documented as early as the 13th century.

Warqa is recognized by a variety of names in ethnic and regional cuisines. Among them are:

Gollash in Egyptian cuisine

Jufka in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia for the dough, while leaves are called kore

Kori za banitsa in Bulgaria for the dough, with pastries made from it generically known as banitsa 

Petë in Albanian cuisine, and pies made out of it pite or byrek

Yufka in Turkish cuisine; there are different sorts of yufka for börek or baklava

Lumpia Wrapper in Filipino cuisine, used in making turon, lumpia and other delicacies.

How to Easily Make 40 Pieces eight-inch Warqa Leaves


Warqa is a little tricky to make, and most Moroccans buy fresh sheets in the market or commercial brands in stores… filo pastry.

The fine, paper-thin pastry sheets used for savory stuffed pastries and layered desserts are originally made by smearing a fine coating of damp, sticky, elastic dough across a wide, hot griddle before peeling it off after 15 seconds or so in a single, fluid motion.

1) It is best to do the kneading on the floor, with a big, shallow washbasin in front of you (henceforth to be referred to as the gsaa) and a bowl of warm, lightly salted water at your side. Dump 4 cups hard-wheat flour (or semolina, bread, or strudel flour, or a mixture of semolina and all-purpose flour) into the gsaa. Work in the warm water, enough to make a softish bread dough. Knead and fold the dough onto itself, at the same time adding water to the gsaa, spreading the dough over the water and then punching down with your fists, making squishy noises as the water is worked in. (The dough will begin to look like a sponge.) Pick the dough up, turn it over, and rub it with the heel of the hand, as you do a fraisage in French pastry.

2) Keeping your hands wet, beat the dough for 1 or 2 minutes against the gsaa, up and down, until it begins to perform like a Yo-yo. Then break off a bit of dough, dip it in the water, fold it back into the remaining mass, and then punch down and knead again. 

3) Repeat this step three or four times during the next 5 to 10 minutes, building elasticity by lifting the dough with the sway of the hand until you are lifting it about 12 inches above the gsaa. Then let the dough “rest” a few hours in a warm place, under a film of 2 tablespoons warm water and a towel. After a 3-hour “rest” you can start to make warqa, or you can refrigerate the dough and make warqa the next day.

4) In Morocco, charcoal is heated in a brazier (kanoun) and then covered with a flat pan called a tobsil del warqa, which has an inner lining of copper and a top surface of tin. To duplicate this in an American kitchen, boil water in a shallow, straight-sided pan covered with a large, upside-down cake pan or large, smooth-bottomed skillet.

5) Wrap a nugget of sweet butter in cheesecloth and set it next to the pan. Rub the tobsil with butter and immediately wipe it off with a clean towel.

6) Try out the dough: wet your hands and then, twisting with the wrist as you would twist a baton, twist off a small amount of dough about the size of an apricot. Start flipping this piece in your palm, moving your whole arm back and forth until the dough becomes a sphere that bounces away from your hand and then immediately springs back. (If the dough does not become a ball it is not yet ready; replace the small piece of dough, wait 10 or 15 minutes, and then try again.)

7) Turn your palm upside down, still moving it gently, and begin, gently, to tap the dough sphere against the hot tobsil, about 1-1/2inches from the edge. Make several soft, slow taps to form a large circle of pastry. (Each time the dough touches the hot pan it should leave a thin, circular film of pastry.) Tap eight or nine times, so as to make a pastry leaf, and then tap against any places where there are holes and where the separate dabs have not joined well.

8) Allow the pastry leaf to dry slightly around its edges and then carefully lift it up, picking at the edges with your fingernails to loosen it from the pan. You will be able to peel it off after lifting approximately one-third of the leaf. If you are working alone, you may have trouble because your hands will be occupied, one keeping the tobsil steady and the other holding onto the sphere of dough, which should be kept in motion. In this case set the sphere down, quickly dip your hand in water, and then peel off the leaf.

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Quick Tips on Making Warqa Pastry Leaves

1) Your first five or six leaves will probably not succeed. Do not give up.

2) It is important to remember that, when you tap the tobsil with the dough, the dough does not really leave your hand; because of the very gentle downward motion of your hand the spherical mass stretches to touch the pan and then snaps back into your inverted palm. If you do this properly, not too fast, you will never lose control of the dough.

3) If you use a spatula to peel off the pastry, the leaf will tear.

4) Because the first five or six leaves will not work out, you need a method for scraping off your mistakes. If the pastry sticks to the pan rub it with a little butter; then rub off the failed leaf with a paper towel.

5) As you accumulate leaves, set them on top of one another and cover them with a clean towel. Do not let them dry out. They will keep 1 or 2 days wrapped in foil. If any of your leaves have thick spots, turn these over and let them dry for half a minute or so before piling them on top of the rest.

6) If the tobsil is too hot, the warqa leaves will stick to the pan, and you may not be able to get your nails under their edges to peel them off.

7) If the dough skims the pan, you haven’t properly wiped off the butter.

8) Every time you pick up the warqa dough, wet your hands. But do not add any water to the dough itself.

9) A warqa leaf is cooked on only one side, unless it is excessively thick. A finished leaf should be slightly crisp.

10) Making warqa is a labor of love. It may take you as long as 3 hours to make 40 leaves. If you are not up to this much effort, make your bastela with Strudel or phyllo dough—you will still obtain a good result.

Related Recipe: What's NEW in Oprah Winfrey's Favorite Indian Food Recipe?

Quick Tips on Using Warqa

When using warqa to make pastries, the thin layers are made by first rolling out the sheets of dough to the final thickness, then brushing them with olive oil, or melted butter for some desserts, and stacking them. This contrasts with puff pastry and croissant doughs, where the layers are stacked into a thick layer of dough, then folded and rolled out multiple times to produce a laminated dough containing thin layers of dough and fat. 

Warqa or filo can be used in many ways: layered, folded, rolled, or ruffled, with various fillings. Notable pastries made with warqa include:

M'Hanncha - (often called as Snake Cake or Snake Shape Pastry) is an authentic Moroccan sweet delicious dessert consisting of rolled phyllo pastry filled with delightful orange-almond paste filling.

Baklava - An Ottoman dessert with layers of filo with chopped nuts, sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. 

Börek - A savory filo pie originally from the Ottoman Empire.

Bougatsa - A type of Greek breakfast pastry.

Kasseropita - A Greek pie made from filo and kasseri cheese.

Galaktoboureko - A Greek dessert consisting of filo and semolina custard.

Spanakopita - A Greek spinach pie.

Tiropita - A Greek dish similar to Börek, filled with a cheese-egg mixture.

Banitsa - A Bulgarian dish consisting of eggs, cheese and filo baked in the oven.

Bülbül yuvasi - A Turkish dessert with pistachios and syrup.

Bundevara - A Serbian sweet pie filled with pumpkin.

Gibanica - A Serbian dish made from filo, white cheese, and eggs.

Pastizz - A savory pastry from Malta filled with ricotta or mushy peas.

Zelnik - A savory pie from the Balkans.


Carole Bloom. 1995. The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections: A Comprehensive Guide With More Than 800 Definitions and 86 Classic Recipes, 1st edition. Hearst Books. ISBN-10: 0688127258

Charles Perry. 1994. The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava, in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper). Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 1-86064-603-4

Fatema Hal, Jean-Francois Hamon, Bruno Barbey. 2007. Authentic Recipes from Morocco -(Authentic Recipes Series). Periplus Editions (HK) ltd. ISBN-10: 9780794603250. ASIN: 0794603254

Marti Sousanis. 1983. The Art of Filo: International Entrees, Appetizers and Desserts Wrapped in Flaky Pastry. Aris Books. ISBN-10: 0943186056

Paula Wolfert. 1987. Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco. Ecco Books ISBN-10: 0060913967

Thomas Katona and Christie Katona. 1996. The Best 50 Phyllo Recipes (Best 50). Bristol Publishing Enterprises Inc. ISBN-10: 1558671439

If you own a Pressure Cooker, you need this… Instant Pot Ultimate Cooking Time Guide- (Accurate Electric Pressure Cooker Cooking Time Chart) - PDF Free Download

Watch Related Videos:

1) Warka - Homemade Moroccan Phyllo Dough Recipe - CookingWithAlia - Episode 320- video

2) Homemade Phyllo Pastry. How to Make Perfect Filo (Fillo, Phyllo) Pastry the Easy Way!!! - video

3) Warka (Brick Pastry) Recipe- How to Easily Make Homemade Authentic Warka Pastry Leaf - video

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Instant Pot Ultimate Cooking Time Guide- (Accurate Electric Pressure Cooker Cooking Time Chart) - PDF Free Download


Food preparation for your family has never been this easy with the use of electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot

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So you are planning to use your electric pressure cooker on MANUAL MODE. Perhaps you want to start adapting your own recipes to cook under pressure. Or maybe you are the curious sort and wonder how long it takes certain types of foods to cook in a pressure cooker compared to an oven or stovetop. Either way, this Electric Pressure Cooker Cooking Time Chart has the information you need. It is filled with tables of recommended cooking times for five major food groups: beans and legumes, fruits, grains, meats, and vegetables. You need this "Instant Pot Ultimate Cooking Time Guide” to make the food you cook taste even better.

The recommended cooking times found in the following tables begin when the pressure cooker reaches high pressure. All cooking times are, at best, approximations and should be used only as general guidelines. Remember that in pressure-cooking; it is the size of the pieces of food that determines its cooking time, not the quantity. One portion will take as long as four.

Start with the shortest cooking time, every time; you can always continue cooking under pressure for an additional couple of minutes until the food attains the texture you desire. You may also find that your particular brand or model of pressure cooker cooks faster or even a bit slower. Therefore, feel free to revise or note any cooking time differences beside the recommended cooking time.

Always check if you have at least 250–300ml liquid in the pressure cooker (even if you are only cooking a small quantity) or the food might stick to the pot. However, liquid does not evaporate much when cooking under pressure so for casseroles, stews and soups you do not need as much as when cooking on stovetop.

You can download this handy guide in PDF format (printable version without cooking tips and explanations) for your convenience just click here… Instant Pot Ultimate Cooking Time Guide PDF free download.

How Hot is a Pressure Cooker Cooks?

In a sealed pressure cooker, the boiling point of water increases as the pressure rises, resulting in superheated water. You are in effect increasing the atmospheric pressure and therefore, increasing the boiling temperature of water. The trapped steam increases the atmospheric pressure inside the cooker by 15 pounds per square inch (psi), or 15 pounds above normal sea-level pressure. Steam from all that heat builds up in the locked pot. Water in a pressure cooker can reach a temperature of up to 121 °C (250 °F), depending on altitude. This higher temperature is what cooks food quicker.

At high altitudes, the pressure cooker is an essential kitchen tool. Food will cook faster and more thoroughly. Food comes out fork-tender and delicious.

Recommended Cooking Times Using Electric Pressure Cooker


If you think vegetables take too long to prepare, you have not tried cooking them in a pressure cooker. The list below shows you just how quickly you can cook a wide variety of vegetables. Learn… How to Keep Cooked Broccoli Bright Green, just tap the blue link.

Recommended Pressure-Cooker Cooking Times for Vegetables

Cooking Time (in Minutes)

Artichokes, hearts
Artichokes, whole
Beans, fresh green or wax, whole or pieces
Beans, lima, shelled
Beets, 1/4-inch slices
Beets, whole, peeled
Broccoli, florets or spears
Brussels sprouts, whole
Cabbage, red or green, quartered
Carrots, 1/4-inch slices
Carrots, whole baby
Cauliflower, florets
Collard greens
Corn on the cob
Parsnips, 1-inch pieces
Peas, shelled
1– 1- 1/2
Potatoes, pieces or sliced
Potatoes, whole, medium
Potatoes, whole, small or new
Pumpkin, peeled, 1-inch chunks
Rutabaga, 1-inch chunks
Spinach, fresh
Squash, summer, sliced
Squash, winter, 1-inch chunks
Sweet potato, 1-1/2-inch chunks
Turnips, sliced

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Remember that not all cuts of meat cook in the same amount of time. The table offers recommended cooking times for various cuts of chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb, and veal prepared in the pressure cooker.

Recommended Pressure Cooker Cooking Times for Poultry and Other Meat Types

Cooking Time (in Minutes)

Beef, 1- to 2-inch cubes
Beef, corned
Beef, roast or brisket
Beef shank, 1- 1/2 inches thick
Chicken, boneless breast or thighs, 1-inch pieces
Chicken, pieces
Chicken, whole, 3–4 pounds
Cornish hen, whole
Lamb, 1- to 2-inch cubes
Lamb, boneless roast
Meatballs, browned
Pork, 1- to 2-inch cubes
Pork, ham shank
Pork, loin roast
Pork, smoked butt
Pork, tenderloin
Turkey, whole breast, bone-in
Turkey, whole breast, boneless
Veal, roast or brisket
Veal, shank, 1- 1/2 inches thick

How Long Does It Take to Cook Dried Beans and Legumes in Electric Pressure Cooker?

With the exception of lentils and split peas, the cooking times given are for cooking presoaked beans.

Why Do You Need to Soak Beans Before Cooking?

Recipes often recommend soaking beans in water overnight before cooking. A quick-soak alternative is to bring the beans and water to a boil and let them stand for an hour or so before cooking. Soak and rinse the beans to remove the phytic acid in their skins which block mineral absorption in the human body.

Soaking the beans overnight starts the hydration process. As a result, soaked beans cook up faster than unsoaked beans, and, more important, they seem to absorb water more evenly so the end result is a creamier texture. A quick soak (covering the beans with boiling water for an hour) is better than nothing.

Why You Should BRINE the Beans and Not Just Soak Them

Beans with tough skins have a tendency to burst in the process of cooking, spilling their starchy innards into the pot and finishing with a sticky, unappealing texture. 

Salting beans can help quickly tenderize their skins, preventing blowouts or bursting while cooking, which is the key to beans that cook up creamy rather than starchy.

Magnesium and calcium, two ions found in bean skins that act kind of like buttresses, supporting the skins’ cell structure and keeping them firm. Because calcium and magnesium ions form links between pectin molecules, they are responsible for creating strong cells that are tightly bound together. During soaking, the sodium ions will filter only partway into the beans, so their greatest effect is on the cells in the outermost part of the beans.

If you soak beans in salted water overnight, the sodium ions will react with the calcium and magnesium, leaving you with skins that soften at the same rate as the beans’ interiors.

How to brine beans? Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add dried beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

Cooking Time (in Minutes)

Azuki beans
Black beans
Black-eyed peas
Chickpeas (garbanzos)
Cranberry beans
Gandules (pigeon peas)
Great Northern beans
Kidney beans, red or white
Lentils, green, brown, or red
Navy or pea beans
Peas, split green or yellow
Pinto beans

For the chickpeas shown above, it took will take the pressure cooker 15 minutes to reach full pressure, then 10 minutes at full pressure to cook the beans, followed by a 20-minute natural release cool down — a total of roughly 45 minutes to achieve very tender beans.

Do you know how to perfectly cook beans and legumes easily? Follow the link… How to Cook Beans or Legume.

How Long do You Have to Soak Beans Before Cooking?

Discard soaking water; cover beans with fresh water and two tablespoons of oil and cook. (Oil reduces foaming during the cooking process.) Overnight Cold Soak: Cover one pound of dry beans with six cups of room-temperature water and allow to soak overnight (12 hours or more).

How to Cook Beans in a Pressure Cooker Without Soaking?

Drain the beans: When the beans are done soaking, drain them in a colander or sieve. Place the drained beans inside the electric pressure cooker. Add 8 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, onion, garlic, bay leaf and oil to the pot.


As you follow the guidelines below for preparing different types of grains in your electric pressure cooker, consider adding 1 tablespoon of oil to cut back on the foaming of the grain as it cooks.

Recommended Pressure-Cooker Cooking Times for Grains

Cooking Time (in Minutes)

Barley, pearl
Barley, whole (unhulled)
Bulgur wheat, whole-grain
Oats, quick-cooking
Oats, steel-cut
Rice, Arborio
Rice, basmati
Rice, brown
Rice, long-grain
Rice, wild
Wheat berries

Become skilled at… Cooking Grains (rice and barley) Like a Professional Chef.


You can also cook dried and fresh fruit in a pressure cooker. This table will show you approximately how long different types and forms of fruits need to cook under pressure before they are ready for consumption.

Recommended Pressure-Cooker Cooking Times for Fruits

Cooking Time

Apples, chunks or eighths
Apples, slices, dried
Apricots, dried
Apricots, whole or halved
Peaches, dried
Peaches, halved
Pears, dried
Pears, halved
Plums, whole or halved

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America's Test Kitchen. 2013. Pressure Cooker Perfection.  America's Test Kitchen.  ISBN-13: 978-1936493418

Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. 2015. The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book: 500 Easy Recipes for Every Machine, Both Stovetop and Electric. Clarkson Potter. ISBN-13: 978-0804185325

J. Kenji López-Alt. 2015. The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN-13: 978-0393081084

Jill Nussinow. 2016. Vegan Under Pressure: Perfect Vegan Meals Made Quick and Easy in Your Pressure Cooker. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN-13: 978-0544464025

Laurel Randolph. 2016. The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals. Rockridge Press. ISBN-13: 978-1623156121

Lorna J. Sass. 1994. Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. William Morrow Cookbooks . ISBN-13: 978-0688123260

The Editors of America's Test Kitchen and Guy Crosby Ph.D. 2012. The Science of Good Cooking (Cook's Illustrated Cookbooks), First Edition. Cook's Illustrated. ISBN-13: 978-1933615981

Tom Lacalamita. 2012. Pressure Cookers For Dummies, Second Edition. For Dummies. ISBN-10: 1118356454

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