This is one of the best Moroccan foods that exist – and of course it would be because essentially it’s fried dough. They are so good fresh and hot with honey on top. In another variation they’re stuffed with spices and fat and cooked making something akin to a pizza or Indian paratha. I have recently learned to make these exactly as my mother and sister in laws would do so and have taken to making a batch every other weekend for the freezer.
- 3½ cups flour (340 g)
- ½ cup fine semolina (90g)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon yeast
- 1½ cups warm water (approx. ⅓ liter)
For folding and cooking the msemmen:
- 1½ cups vegetable oil
- ½ cup fine semolina
- ¼ cup very soft unsalted butter
1) Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1½ cups of warm water, and mix to form a dough. Add more water if necessary to make a dough that is soft and easy to knead, but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little flour one tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, (or knead the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes), until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
2) Set a bowl of the melted/soft butter and some oil aside. Cover your hands with oil.
3) Begin by dividing the dough into golf ball size balls. Continue until all the dough is divided.
4) Starting with the first ball you made, add more of the butter mixture to your hands and work surface. Flatten the ball to a very very thin layer.
5) Rub some oil on top, and fold into thirds.
6) Add some more oil and sprinkle some semolina on the strip and fold again into thirds.
7) You should have a small square of dough. Continue through the remaining balls.
8.) Heat up a skillet and add a small amount of oil to the pan. Keep it on a medium heat. Starting with the first “package” that you assembled, oil your hands and begin flattening the dough. It should be thin and remain in a square shape. Do not overwork or the layers meld together.
9) Place into the warm skillet and cook until golden brown. If it does not turn to a golden color, you are not using enough oil.
The trick to this recipe is making sure you are using enough of the oil/butter mixture at all steps. If you are not the dough will rip or will not cook correctly.
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