It feels like ages since I have done a guest post on the blog. And yes, it has been ages! The last one that appeared on the blog was during Eid in June. I have been going slow about it, not asking bloggers to contribute nor was wanting anybody to contribute! I am being very honest – I have loved the experience of hosting bloggers on this space, in fact I started it and I continued it till now, and would continue to definitely host more bloggers here in the future, InShaAllah… but sometimes the whole thing is so overwhelming, that it needs a breathing space. And that is exactly what I did after taking this break. But InShaAllah, I am all charged up to welcome in some more of my favorite bloggers and hopefully you will start seeing posts on a regular basis rather than with long breaks! Not promising anything though, but would love to go with the flow… 🙂
I think there is no other better way to start that with someone who has become like my blogging soulmate. I don’t know when and where we started, thanks to my memory lapses, but all I know is that Alhamdulillah, we have become very good mates. We keep chatting almost everyday, she makes it a point to comment on all my posts which I do too, we share our little happiness and concerns, we have met each other personally once when she visited Dubai and we had an awesome time, though it was short… I am talking about none other than Famidha, who blogs at “My Life in Yanbu“. If you are regular on the blog, you will remember that I had done a guest post for her on her blog’s first birthday. 🙂 Some relationships are worth treasuring and Alhamdulillah, blogging has given me a few of them that I sincerely cherish, one of it is hers. She is so full of life, very fun loving, and so good to be with! I really don’t want to sound so mushy about her… 😀 Her blog was initially to record her experiences in Yanbu but it slowly moved towards her passion for cooking. Or is it making parathas? 😉 You will be amazed by the amount of parathas she has on her blog. I admire her for that because making flatbread is a big no-no – call it laziness or lack of interest! I always tell her that in any case I visit her home in the future – InShaAllah – she has to make me all sorts of parathas! 😀 To justify her title of “Paratha Queen”, she comes up with an interesting one for me too! I wish I could eat them off the screen… seriously! Without keeping you all waiting, let me just push on to her post…
I can’t believe I am actually here finally! I am so much here already on her comments section that I no longer feel like a guest to do a guest post! 🙂 Yet, here I am feeling so excited at the opportunity to feature my recipe in her beautiful world. I am Famidha, the Queen of Paratha! 😀 I blog occasionally at My Life in Yanbu, which is located in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From halal recipes to travelogues there is nothing much in my blog. It is just consuming some memory of internet and my laptop. 😀 Well… about the host, Raf came into my life bringing joy and support as a friend and sister when most needed. And I also feel lucky to have met her in person and tasted her cooking which just re-confirms that her recipes are worth trying without any second thoughts! Don’t you agree?
Today I am here to share the recipe for the popular Moroccan pancakes! They are the next best thing to our porotta. Msemen and Meloui are Moroccan Pancakes made with Rghaif which is a type of Moroccan dough prepared with flour and semolina. Let me tell you, I must have gone through a zillion websites to figure the right proportion before I went for the second attempt. Yeah, that is right, the first time I prepared Msemen, it was a complete let-down. But having done my study I wanted to share more information for those like me and help you taste a distant cousin of our own Porotta. 🙂
About the dough, Rghaif is commonly prepared as unleavened, but a lot of beginners add a tiny amount of yeast to help with attaining the right texture and elasticity of the dough. I havenot used yeast in this recipe and also tried to keep it close to the traditional method. There is no rule for the ratio of flour to semolina, generally, the best rule is to go for equal portion by volume.
Depending on the way you choose to fold the rghaif, they are called differently. Msemen is a square shaped pancake (I am not comfortable calling this a pancake, so going to stick with flatbread) and Meloui is a round and coil shaped flatbread. The folding of a flattened Msemen is not new for many of us. It is exactly how you do the box or muttabaq etc. And the Meloui is more akin to Porotta or Laccha but they don’t pleat or fan the folds, instead, they roll/fold it from both ends to resemble a long strip and then roll again to form a coil shape. A more traditional way of folding meloui is to stretch and flatten the dough ball to a loooong strip and then fold and roll into a coil. Fine semolina and oil butter mix must be used generously while shaping these flatbreads.
Just like our own parathas, these also may be stuffed with a variety of fillings both sweet and savoury, veg and non-veg, before it’s folded and cooked. Today, I am sharing the basic plain rghaif which are very popular street food in Morocco and is served as-is or with syrup made from butter and honey, jam, or any spicy curry, egg, etc. sky is the limit!
Your kneading skills will be put to test! Like I said, the ratio of flour to semolina is not standard, but the dough has to be soft, non-sticky and elastic. Coating with oil and resting the dough balls is another important step. You should be able to spread the rested dough balls easily with your hands as thin as it can get. Yes, we will use hands to spread it and no flour is used to help spread! That is a big NO! Then fold and roast on a heated heavy bottomed pan while flipping several times until it is cooked both sides. Serve hot with apricot jam, raspberry or any jam of choice, or make a syrup with honey and butter or just have with some meat curry! I have tried all these ways and could not pick a favourite.
For the Dough
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 and ½ cup fine semolina
Salt to taste
Approx. 2 cups of warm water (more or less based on the quality of the flour andsemolina)
Oil – enough to spread on each dough ball while it rests
Equal portion of Oil and soft butter mixed together – to spread while shaping and folding*
A small bowl of fine semolina to sprinkle between folds
Prepare the Dough – Watch this video for more guidance – https://youtu.be/kZRT5-UExhE
- In a bowl mix together the flour, semolina and salt
- Add water little at a time and slowly stir with your fingers to bring together a lump – not sticky
- Transfer the dough to the work area or flat surface and start kneading with both your hands. Play some music in the background or enjoy the time kneading – its therapeutic!
- Add the remaining water as a few drops every 5 minutes and knead again
- Keep kneading for at least 30 minutes until the dough becomes soft, elastic, and does not have any creases
- Make equal sized balls (keeping in mind the size of the work area and the pan you will be using)
- Spread oil and keep them on a well-greased plate covered with cling wrap
- Rest the dough for 20 to 30 minutes
Shape Msemen & Meloui
- Spread some oil butter mix over the work area (avoid using wooden surface or any that is not smooth) and place a dough ball
- Oil your hands and start spreading in clock and anti-clock wise with one hand
- Then use both your hands to spread it out as thin as possible. Minor tears are ok but that will not happen if the dough is really soft
- Spread some oil butter mix all over
- For Msemen – Fold each opposite side of the flattened dough towards the center to make a square. Ensure to spread the oil mixture and sprinkle semolina on each layer of the fold
- For Meloui– Keep folding two ends of the flattened dough until it meets at a point and then overlap to make it a long strip. Ensure to spread the butter in each fold. Now start rolling it while stretching or flattening as you go to make a spiral shaped ball.
- Place the folded msemen/meloui on a greased surface and cover with a cloth or a cling film until you have folded all the dough balls.
Prepare Msemen & Meloui
- Preheat a thick bottomed non-stick pan on a medium to high flame
- Take a folded msemen or meloui and start spreading it out with your fingers until it doubles in its size. You may use rolling pin here but actually not required.
- Grease the pan with oil and place the flatbread on the hot pan
- Cook each side flipping it several times and pressing it on sides so that it cooks evenly
- Give the hot flatbread a good crush between your hands so make it fluffy
- Serve hot with butter honey syrup, choice of jam, or as is for tea time and for dinner, serve with any meat curry
*Note: You can skip the butter and use just oil or melted ghee if you are too health conscious.
If you have been avoiding Porotta because of the white flour used, try replacing a portion with fine semolina, and I am sure it will turn out to be better Porotta with Moroccan twist! What say? Let me know if you try or have already tried.
Yeah, it did take Fami all the time to appear him because she didn’t know what to give and she thought that hers would not be good enough for me. 😕 I really don’t get it… This post is definitely much much much more than I expected to get and I am so happy to get such an amazing post from you… 🙂
Hope my lovely readers enjoyed this guest post. In case any of you – blogger or otherwise – wish to be on this space of mine, don’t hesitate to buzz me up on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can take forward from it! 🙂