Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Moroccan stuffed harchas with cheese and other things

We love Harcha so much that when Huma (check her incredibly amazing work here) kindly proposed that I write about Ramadan in Morocco from a culinary perspective, I wanted to give harcha the exposure it deserves. 

The other reason why I meant to include stuffed harcha recipe in Huma's Ramadan event is because of it's humble ingredients and its simplicity: everyone can make it. 

Take a tour at Huma's world here
Please head to her page and enjoy my guest post over there. Her blog is so addictive and I'm sure you will enjoy her yummy world. 

If you are a follower of this blog you must be familiar with harcha, a flat Moroccan galettes made of semolina (not couscous). 

I have introduced what harcha is all about here, here, there and also there.

I love the layers of textures in this harcha
Make sure you make these. They're good anytime of the day. I love them for breakfast.

Stuffed harchas with olives, cheese and khlii (Moroccan cured and preserved meat)

Monday, 30 June 2014

Modern Moroccan baghrir with orange sauce

Have you heard of Baghrir? Yes? good! No? We'll fix that!

Baghrir is a sort of spongy pancake with many holes. It's usually served with an oozing combination of warm honey and butter. In Fes, we like to add orange blossom water to this mix (of course!).

For some reason, baghrir has got a funny French translation: "crêpe a 1000 trous" (the 1000 hole's pancake)..I still wonder if anyone has ever counted them..What if you get 999, can they still be called so? It's worth knowing that a single unit of Baghrir is called "Baghrira".

Trying to take a picture but the little baby's hand were faster

More about baghrir and its basic recipe can be found in my previous post over here. It's also one of the must-serve recipes during Ramadan, either during Iftar or So'hour.

The more holes baghrir has the better.. It's actually a signature of success to have as many holes as possible.

It's not a good baghrir if you don't get multiple distinctives holes. 

Today's baghrir is a modern version which has eggs and milk. It's a sort of American pancake meets crumpet. Not only that! I'm pooring orange juice on it. Heaven!

In the last 4 years or so, I've seen some creative women in Morocco adding colours to the batter. they even added cocoa powder to it..

You can make small or big baghrir (anywhere between 12 to 26 cm). Like I mentioned in my previous post (no seriously, you have to go back to it for more details about a successful baghrir).

Make sure you use a non-stick pan that is only dedicated for pancakes or crêpes.

I'm sending this post to Susan's yeastspotting at

Makes 30 * 18 cm baghrirs
Prep: 5 min - cooking: about 2 min/baghrir

Baghrir batter

  • 350 g of fine semolina
  • 150 g of all purpose flour
  • 180 ml of milk, lukewarm
  • 500 ml of water, lukewarm
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of instant dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • A good pinch of sugar
  • A good pinch of salt

To serve (approximate)

  • 1 tsp of honey/baghrir
  • 1 tsp of butter/ baghrir
  • 1 tbsp of fresh orange juice/baghrir

One baghrir with a thin edge (tp)and another one with a thicker
edge (bottom), A matter of preference.


Make baghrir

Dilute the yeast and the sugat in 4 tbsp of water and stir. Set aside for 1 minute.

Place all ingredients in the bowl of mixer and mix for 3 to 4 minutes until it looks smooth. You may use an egg beater for the same job but then keep incorporating the air for about 5 min then strain the mix.

Transfer to an appropriate bowl and cover. It should rise and make bubbles. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, this step can take anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours (I leave it for a minimum of 3 hours in an 18 degrees C temperature).

Gently mix the batter with a manual egg beater or a ladle.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly oil it with the tip of a kitchen tower/paper.

Use a smal ladle to pour the batter into the pan: make sure you start from the middle and then tilt the pan so the batter goes around to cover all the flat surface. Alternatively, you can QUICKLY use the back of the ladle to spread the batter but do it ONLY once and at the very beginning. 

Allow a few seconds of cooking until all the bubbles are showing. Cook baghrir for about 2 minutes from one side. In case you see an uncooked spot, just flip it over for a second (literally). and take it off the heat.

This baghrir comes is the result of 4 hours rest..Nothing beats slow fermentation.

How many holes can you count (including the hidden ones)?

If the pan becomes fuming hot, reduce the heat and keep it away from the source and bring it back with it's just hot enough to take another ladle of batter.

The Baghrira is ready when it looks lightly browned from underneath.

The same batter gives different results depending on how long it's
been resting and bubbling: 
1 is the best, 3/4/5 are good while 2 is not

Place each Baghrira on a clean kitchen cloth making sure not to overlap then when still hot. If you have a small work surface, you may only overlap the edges but not the centers.

Serve slightly heated and drenched with a warm honey and butter mixture. Add the orange juice on top. 

Consider serving baghrir with a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream to a nice dessert..Yummy!

Freeze the rest of plain baghrir like so (see below): 

Orange-honey-butter sauce

On a low heat, melt the butter, add honey and give it about 30 seconds. Just when you see honey becoming runny, add the orange juice. 

Let simmer for another minute.

Presenting baghrir

Take one baghrira with your fingers, dip the top (with holes) into the orange sauce and pick it up instantly (or it will soak too much sauce and might fall apart). Place the baghrir in a big plate, slightly overlapping each other.

How to handle baghrir with its sauce the traditional way: The front of baghrira goes first into the sauce and get picked instantly 
If you are worried you will end up with a lot of sauce, use a saucer to pour it over the front side of baghrir and use the back of a spoon to spread it over. You may also use a brush for that.

Do not forget:

  • To use a non-stick pan dedicated to pancakes and nothing else.
  • To give baghrir time to develop bubbles.
  • To cook baghrir on low heat and to make sure the pan is not fuming hot.
  • Not to cook baghrir from 2 sides.
  • Not to overlap the cooked baghrir unless they're completely cooled
  • To warm baghrir before you add the honey mix. 

I feel sad knowing that Serena and Arianna's june event about Moroccan food will be over today. This will be my last participation in their wonderful "La via del sapori".

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Incredibly delicious Moroccan orange and cinnamon fruit salad

Moroccan orange salad is rather a dessert served at the end of a meal. It's at its best when the oranges are in season.

How can an easy recipe such as this one be so good? If you look at the combination of flavours, they all seem made for each other: oranges, orange blossom water and cinnamon. It's so Moroccan!

This is such a short and easy recipe that you have time to read what I have to say about orange blossom water while making it..

Orange blossom water (or orange flower water) is called "maa zhar" in the Arab world, maa refers to water and zhar or zahar refers to flower. It's not to be confused with Rose water.

I served my orange salad with a good vanilla ice-cream, not traditional
 but they go together very well

There is a common belief that orange blossom water results from the distillation of flowers coming from the common orange tree. This is absolutely not the case as the flowers used for the purpose are from the bitter orange or Seville orange tree called "bigaradier".

In Morocco, we call this bitter orange "naranj" or "lranj". These trees are widely spread in Fes, Marrakech and many other Moroccan cities. They're literally in the streets. We have 3 just at my parents' doorsteps in Casablanca.

We pick the flowers (not sprayed with chimicals) to make this wonderful water but we also use the quarters of the orange in the chicken brine in order to kill that smelly "chickeny" taste.

My auntie's window is overlooking a tree loaded with bitter oranges.
An old tool called "qattara" with its pot is a double-tool used for the steam distillation out of which we get the orange blossom water.

Maa zhar is an important water in our Moroccan life..It's synonymous of major happy events (weddings, birth, circumcision, religious feasts ..) and many almond sweets. 

In Fez, we use it to welcome guests by adding it to the drinks (cold or hot)..We literally drizzle it on our clothes and guests' clothes. We perfume our skin with it..My whole childhood is filled with Maa zhaar.

Orange blossom water needs to age to be at its best. Its colours changes from transparent to golden. That's how we like it in Fes! It has to be sealed properly after each use or it loses its strenght.

 1 year old orange blossom water, my part of my auntie's 2013 distillation
Now it's time we talk about our recipe. 

Serves 1 person
Prep: 2 min - 2 hours in the fridge- No cooking
  • 1 big sweet eating orange (Navel is good for this), peeled "a vif"
  • 1 tsp of orange blossom water (Not rose water)
  • 2 tbsps of orange juice (I forgot to add it but you should)
  • A good pinch or cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of fine sugar (I didn't add it this time)


Slice the peeled oranges anywhere between 5 mm to 1 cm at max. 

Sprinkle the sugar and drizzle the orange blossom water.

Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Cover with a cling film and transfer to the fridge for a couple of hours.

Serve cold. 

Note: This recipe is featured at Serena and Arianna's June's event " La via dei sapori" which is dedicated to Moroccan food. Serena's blog features lovely recipe with options for those suffering from lactose intolerance. 


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