The msemens are traditional puff pancakes originating in the Maghreb. Square in shape, they are tasted both salty and sweet and are very popular in northern Africa, especially during Ramadan. The ancestral recipe is not very complicated, but some, passionate about cooking have become real experts in the field. This is the case of Zahira Saddok, 35, owner of a brand new catering service in the city of Agadir.
“I tested a lot of different recipes before arriving at this one,” explains the young woman while spreading out small balls of dough on a marble worktop. In her shop, “Le Traditionnel by Iza”, Zahira works with several other cooks, to whom she teaches her recipes which she has perfected over the years. “Cooking has always been my passion. I learned on my own, on the internet, and with my mother too. »On site, the catering service offers all kinds of pastries and other traditional Moroccan dishes. In the window are exposed, msemen of course, but also batbout, round buns, harchas, semolina-based pancakes, or even Moroccan brioches. “The first few months, we also prepared traditional dishes, served for lunch, such as tagines, for example. But with the arrival of Ramadan, we preferred to limit ourselves to pastries, briouates and other accompaniments, ”adds the mother.
Available on site, Le Traditionnel by Iza has only been open for a few months, and yet in the alleys around, many say that its msemen are the best in the kingdom!
The recipe for traditional msemen
For about 10 msemen, you need 600g of white wheat flour, 400g of hard semolina and 1 small tsp. of salt. Mix everything with about 50 cl of cold water. “Tap water, not lukewarm,” Zahira insists. Once the dough is quite consistent, we separate it into balls of about 100g. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes under a cloth. During this time, we melt 200g of butter, which we mix with about 1 glass of sunflower oil. Once the dough has rested, we roll out each ball in a circle, before soaking them in the butter-oil mixture using both hands. Finally, we sprinkle the whole thing with a little semolina, and we fold each piece of dough on itself, like a wallet, to obtain squares. Leave to rest for another 15 to 20 minutes before cooking each msemen on a buttered baking sheet over low heat. “The secret to this recipe really lies in the texture of the dough. Above all, it should not be too fluid. It must also rest well to prevent it from “breaking” during kneading, ”says the expert.
How to serve your msemen
The msemen are served sweet and savory, and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. “I take them for breakfast, and I often serve them for afternoon tea too. But many people eat them for lunch, or even for dinner. »In a salty version, you can stuff your msemen with khlii, a meat confit in fat, but also with chicken, minced meat or even cheese. All you have to do is slip pieces of the chosen food into the raw dough, once the latter has been kneaded with oil and butter. For vegetarian msemen, they are garnished with a stuffing of onions, spices, or vegetables for example. For afternoon tea, they are spread with cheese, chocolate, jam or the classic honey-melted butter combo, the favorite of all Moroccans. Obviously, nothing prevents them from being served in their natural version, to accompany a soup, for example, or a glass of hot tea.
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