Thursday, 8 May 2014

Basic recipe for Moroccan Harcha galettes

I have given an extensive definition of harcha in a previous post. In this one, I'll be sharing with you my usual harcha recipe (with its variations). You can accommodate and flavor it to your liking. Make small harchas to serve as tidbits to your family and friends along with a cup of tea.


My harchas still in the pan. 


Ingredients
Serves 2 to 4 (makes about 1 harcha 20 cm large or 6 minis of 7 cm)
Prep: 10 min- Cooking: 20 min

  • 260-300 g of fine semolina 
  • 1 tsp of salt  
  • 1 tsp of sugar (optional. I add it when I want to left my harcha plain)
  • 30-40ml of oil (vegetable or olive oil) or/and melted butter 
  • 90 ml of lukewarm water (or a 50%-50% water and milk)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of dried instant yeast (mixed with 2 tbsps of warm water), optional
For shaping
  • 20-30 g of fine or medium semolina 


Preparation

"Bessess" the semolina: feed it with fat

Mix dry ingredients with the fat you are planning to use (oil, melted butter..). Work these ingredients with your fingers making sure all grains have been properly coated. This should take about 1 min.

At this stage, you can cover it and leave it for a few minutes to 1 hour. If you are in a hurry, carry on with the next step.


Dry ingredients worked with olive oil to form a sandy mix.
Shape the dough ball

Slowly incorporate the liquid (water, a mix of water-milk, yeast) to the mix bring the dough together. Some people leave it slightly sloppy. I don't like it hard so It's easy to shape it and I don't like it sloppy either: too hard and you will have cracks, too sloppy and it will be somewhat rubbery. 

Try to come up with a ball by sending the dough from one hand to the other. This will form a ball without developping gluten or breaking the texture of the semolina grain. This should take about 1 min.

In the meantime, heat a heavy bottom non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.

Shaping and cooking harcha

1- For small harchas using a round cutter or a glass: sprinkle the worktop with fine or medium semolina and roll/flatten the dough anywhere between 5 mm to 1 cm (I prefer it thin). Sprinkle again from the top. Cut and place over the skillet..Cook each side about 10 min until you see brown patches.


Shaping an olive-cheese stuffed mini-harcha

2- For a large harcha: sprinkle the pan and flatten the dough directly. It will crack from the sides, it's normal, while you are flattening it, try to seal the cracks between thumb and index while being careful not to burn your arm with the edge of the pan..On the other hand, even if it cracks from the edges it's ok anyway..Cook from both sides..


My auntie shaping a large and plain Harcha

Some people prick it a couple of times once they place it in the pan,  I don't.



Cooking on the 1st side. Usually it takes between 7 and 10 minutes. You'll also notice that the top side is changing colour.

Both side should be cooked one after the other: we should make sure that the first side is done then we will flip it gently. If you are making a big harcha (over 30 cm) then you might need a big plate to do the transition between the 2 sides over the pan, just like we do for a Spanish Tortilla.

The two sides should be nicely golden with some dark brown patches which add an extra flavor.


Cooking mini harchas over a traditional heavy pan called Ma'qla Ouejdia. Any burnt semolina should be brushed to the sides and taken away


Spread butter over harcha when still warm, Heaven! Open it and make mini sandwiches...





Enjoy!

Notes


  • In some areas in Morocco, women add a bit of fresh yeast to enhance the harcha's texture. I just do it with the baking powder although you may actually put them in together but hen you have let the dough rest for 15 min before shaping it..
  • If you are making a large number of mini harchas but have only one pan, make sure you pre-cut them and cover them in one go so you don't have to deal with dry dough.
  • I do not like a frozen and reheated harcha and I'm sure many Moroccans won't like it either, so don't be tempted to do so unless you will be making R'fissa with it.




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