Technique and recipe: everything you need to know about msemen

Msemens are traditional flaky pancakes originating from the Maghreb. Square in shape, they can be enjoyed both savory and sweet and are very popular in northern Africa, especially during Ramadan. There is nothing very complicated about the ancestral recipe, but some people who are passionate about cooking have become real experts in the field. This is the case of Zahira Saddok, 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 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 that 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 displayed, msemen of course, but also batbout, small round breads, harchas, pancakes made from semolina, or even Moroccan brioches. “In the first months, we also prepared traditional dishes, served at lunch, like tagines for example. But with the arrival of Ramadan, we preferred to limit ourselves to pastries, briouates and other accompaniments,” adds the mother.

Available for collection on site, Le Traditionnel by Iza has only been open for a few months, and yet in the surrounding streets, many say that its msemen are the best in the kingdom!

The recipe for traditional msemen

For approximately 10 msemen, you need 600g of white wheat flour, 400g of hard semolina and 1 small tbsp. teaspoon of salt. Mix everything with around 50 cl of cold water. “Tap water, not lukewarm,” Zahira insists. Once the dough is consistent, separate it into balls of approximately 100g. Let everything rest for 20 to 30 minutes under a cloth. During this time, melt 200g of butter, which we mix with approximately 1 glass of sunflower oil. Once the dough has rested, spread each ball into a circle, before soaking them in the butter-oil mixture using both hands. To finish, sprinkle everything with a little semolina, and 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. It should definitely not be too fluid. It must also rest well to prevent it from “breaking” during kneading,” the expert tells us.

How to serve your msemen

Msemen are served both savory and sweet, and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. “I have them for breakfast, and I often serve them as a snack too. But many people eat them as lunch, or even dinner. » In a savory version, you can stuff your msemen with khlii, a meat confit in fat, but also with chicken, ground meat or even cheese. Simply 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 snacks, they are spread with cheese, chocolate, jam or the classic honey-melted butter combo, a favorite par excellence of all Moroccans. Obviously, nothing prevents them from being served in their plain version to accompany a soup for example, or a glass of hot tea.


Rue Massa QI, Agadir

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