Msemmen Pancakes

Moroccan Streetfood

What is it about streetfood that’s so alluring? I think its appeal lies in its informality, it doesn’t respect social boundaries, it’s portable, streetfood has the knack of luring one’s taste-buds into further portions, it isn’t restricted by hours in the day or night…and perhaps best of all it is best enjoyed eating with one’s fingers. Think about it, some of the tastiest food experiences are to be found upon the streets across the globe, samosas, chips, burgers, tacos, pakoras, pizza, brochettes, dumplings, crepes, arepas, gyros…the list goes on and so does the seduction.

Let me introduce you to one more attraction, it has travelled from the kitchens of Morocco and trades breakfast and brunch hunger for delicious layers of honeyed pancake flatbread. A glorious fusion of French and North African knowhow creates alchemy with these Msemmen pancakes. It’s rude to stare, so crack on and get kneading.  

Makes about 12

  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g fine semolina
  • 180ml olive oil
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of dry yeast
  • 240 – 480ml warm water (depending on the quality of absorption of your flour)
Msemmen pancake recipe

How To Make Msemmen

Mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, semolina, salt, sugar, and yeast). Slowly add water and work the dough until you are able to create a ball with the dough. If you are kneading the dough by hand, use energetic and quick strokes. Knead for 20 minutes while adding water until you get an elastic dough. You can use a kneading machine to speed up the process. Put the dough ball in the machine and automatically knead for the next 10 minutes while adding water.

Make small balls with the dough (the size of golf balls) and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

The amount of water needed depends on the quality of absorption of the flour you are using. the goal is to get at the end an elastic and mallaeable dough. If your dough is too sticky add some flour; if it is too hard add some water and continue kneading it.

Mix the melted butter with the oil. Spread some of the oil/butter mixture on a flat surface. Take one dough ball and flatten it with your hands. Gently keep stretching the dough until you get a thin circle of dough. Fold the circle into a square.

Gently spread the dough square with your fingertips until you get a thin dough square.
On low heat, cook the Msemmen 5-10 minutes in each side in a frying pan until gentle scorched patterns appear.

Serve the Msemmen hot with honey and Moroccan mint tea.

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