Tuesday 20 March 2012

Libyan Home-made Pasta: Megata/Rishdet Burma مقطع/رشدة برمة

Megata (literally: chopped) is also known as Rishdet Burma in Tripoli - Burma means pot and this is to distinguish it from Rishdet Kaskas, another kind of fresh pasta steamed in a couscous pot. Megata is a Libyan dish of fresh home-made pasta cooked in a tomato-based sauce, often made  with gideed (dried meat). Depending on the region, the dish can include different kinds of additions. In the west Megatat is made with  beans, lentils, fava beans, chickpeas and fenugreek. The eastern method is with coriander, basil and fresh mint. A lighter version of Megata is cooked in milk or buttermilk instead of a tomato-based sauce. There is another variation (which is good for colds) where the pasta itself is made with a mix of thyme and flour, and served in a thyme and olive oil sauce.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)


6 cups of flour
3 cups of water
1 tsp salt

2 handfuls chopped Gideed (or 500 g cubed fresh beef or lamb)
1/2 cup of oil
1 finely chopped onion
2 finely chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 finely chopped cloves of garlic
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup of pre-soaked chickpeas
1/2 cup of dry fava beans
1/2 cup of fresh fava beans
2 fresh hot chillies (optional)


1 tablespoons fenugreek
1 teaspoon red pepper
2 teaspoons tumeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste (remember that the gideed is salty!)


Pour the flour in a deep bowl, add the salt, make a hollow in the center and add the water gradually, until the dough is firm. The dough is meant to be hard. Cover and leave to rest while you make the sauce.

 Stir the gideed in a little oil.

Add the tomato paste, chopped tomato and onion and the spices. Stir on medium heat for a few minutes.

Add the pulses and chickpeas.

 Add the garlic and chillies, then about 1 liter of water to the pot and cover and leave the sauce on medium low heat for around half an hour. Meanwhile return to the dough!

Once the dough has rested, form into a 'loaf' and cut into 'slices'.

Powder each side of each 'slice' with plenty of flour.

If you have a pasta machine, put each piece of dough through the lasagna roller and layer the resulting lengths on top of each other, with a (very generous) dusting of flour in between to prevent sticking.

Cut each length into half and thin out again by putting through the machine for a second time.

The third time, put the dough through the tagliatelle cutter.

If you don't have a pasta machine, use a rolling pin to thin out each piece, then begin chopping from one end into noodles/tagliatelle. I've demonstrated using only one layer, but you should stack four layers with plenty of flour in between then begin chopping.

Add about 1 liter of water to the sauce pot. Bring to boil. Throw the pasta in the pot, a bunch at a time rather than all at once and stir gently. Let it cook for around 20 minutes.

Serve warm with wholemeal bread and lemon wedges.


  1. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله

    تشجيع لما تتحفينا به
    اتمنى لك من الله التوفيق

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  5. Finally....been waiting for this recipe!