Gluten-Free Warka {Moroccan Phyllo} Skip to Content

Gluten-Free Warka {Moroccan Phyllo}

Gluten-Free Warka {Moroccan Phyllo}

Ask any Moroccan chef or home cook what is the single item they would buy over making and chances are pretty good they will say warka (sometimes spelled oarka). Traditional warka is a pain to make. It is closely related to phyllo dough but is a little sturdier and has a crispier texture when cooked. It is time consuming, and involves a lot of stretching and pulling to make paper thin sheets.

In her book, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, Paula Wolfert details the process through illustration.  Recently she made a video with Alia from Cooking with Alia (I’m insanely jealous that Alia got to hang out with Paula!) showing a different way of making warka using a paint brush.

I knew that the traditional way of making warka wouldn’t work to make gluten-free warka. The pulling process is meant to activate the gluten and stretch out the gluten molecules to create the thin but sturdier sheets. Obviously, this would be impossible with gluten-free flours. But, when I saw Paula’s new technique there was some promise.  Some of our favorite Moroccan Ramadan treats use phyllo or warka so I was determined to create a gluten-free version.

I’m not going to lie to you – this recipe does take time but the results are worth it. Knowing that MarocBaba will be able to enjoy things like savory and sweet briouats as well as  b’stilla makes it all worth it.

Gluten Free Warka

Ingredients

    • 3/4 c sorghum flour
    • 1/4c tapioca starch
    • 1/4 c brown rice flour
    • 1/4 c white rice flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    • 2 3/4c water
    • paper towels or parchment paper
  • 3-4″ bristle paintbrush (one that is used only in the kitchen)

Instructions

      • In a food processor combine everything except the vegetable oil. Blend until everything is well combined and is a thin batter.
      • Refrigerate covered for 2 hours.
      • During this time prepare for making the warka. Cut sheets of parchment paper or paper towel into pieces to place between the layers. Place a small bowl of the vegetable oil in your work area with a paper towel to be used on the pastry sheets.
      • Remove batter from the refrigerator and heat a skillet on medium high heat. I’ve found using a pan that is the same size as the sheets you would like is the easiest.
      • Pour a small amount of oil into the pan and wipe off with a paper towel.
      • Using your paintbrush, brush on the batter making a thin layer. Working in a circular fashion dabbing batter in the areas with holes. This may take a few attempts to get a good understanding of how much to use. (See Alia’s video as the technique is the same).
      • Heat for approximately 2 minutes. you will see the edges starting to pull up and the middle beginning to dry. You do not want this to cook completely through or it will become hard and impossible to use for briouats or b’stila.
        Warka Opacity

 

      • Very carefully pull the sheet out of the pan and transfer to a parchment/paper towel on a plate. Dab another paper towel with vegetable oil and spread on the warka sheet. Cover with a sheet of parchment or paper towel. 
      • Repeat the steps until batter is gone. This recipe will make 30-32 sheets or warka.
    • The warka can be used immediately or placed into a freezer bag and frozen until ready to use. Be sure to thaw at room temperature before using.

Saving Warka

 These sheets can be used to make traditional Moroccan foods that call for warka or phyllo dough BUT they also can be used for other recipes that use phyllo.  I’m thinking of making some baklava with them soon!

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UmmJedam

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Salem, I'm going to try this. My son has just been diagnosed as coeliac and there's no way he could make it through Ramadan without his traditional Brik starter. I bought some GF couscous so will be trying that (without telling hubby and son) over the next few weeks. All I need now is some GF Orzo for the sherbah. Anthing my son simply can't do without during Ramadan..... Thanks for the recipe :-)

Amanda Mouttaki

Monday 21st of October 2019

Depending where you are GF pasta is really easy to get - if you can go with corn instead of the rice version though as it holds up better and just tastes better in my opinion.

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Saturday 9th of June 2018

[…] I’m sure is part skill and part the right ingredients!  This is made with a dough called ourka (work-a) that is a bit thicker than filo dough.  You can sometimes pick  it up in Middle Eastern markets […]

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Friday 28th of October 2016

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Colette

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Did you or any other readers trying this recipe for baklava? I'm curious if there are any tips before I get started!

Amanda Mouttaki

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Not sure if they have or not but hopefully someone will chime in if they did!

Ashna

Wednesday 6th of January 2016

Can this be used for samosas?

Amanda Mouttaki

Wednesday 6th of January 2016

Hi Ashna -- I think that it will be too thin of a dough for samosas - this is paper thin BUT if you want a gluten free samosa dough try this recipe https://marocmama.com/gluten-free-cornish-pasty-sundaysupper/ - just use the pastry dough portion.

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