Moroccan Harcha Semolina Pan-Fried Flatbread

Serve Harcha with Jam, Cheese or Butter and Honey. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Approx. 12 3" flatbreads
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Harcha (or harsha ) is a Moroccan pan-fried bread made from semolina. Although it looks a bit like an English muffin, it's more like cornbread in texture and taste. Recipes for harcha vary from family to family. This one's quite rich in that it uses all butter and milk – delicious, especially when hot from the griddle! See How to Make Harcha for a photo tutorial.

Offer harcha for tea time or breakfast; they're best served warm with jam, cheese or syrup made from melted butter and honey.

For a gluten-free version, try Cornmeal Harcha.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups (350 g) fine semolina (not durum flour)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) soft or melted butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (120 to 180 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup coarse semolina (optional)

How to Make It

1. In a mixing bowl, blend together the fine semolina, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and blend just until the mixture is sandy and the semolina grains have all been moistened. (I use my hands to mix this dough).

2. Add 1/2 cup milk and mix until a dough forms. It should be quite moist, wet almost, and easily packed into a large mound. Add additional milk if necessary to achieve this consistency.

3. Shape the dough into balls any size that you like – I make them about the size of small plums – and leave the dough to rest a few minutes.*

4. Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium-low heat. While the griddle is heating, roll the balls in the coarse semolina (this is optional for appearance and texture) and flatten each ball into a disc about 1/4" thick, or a bit thicker if you like.

5. Cook the harcha over fairly low heat, about 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until a pale to medium golden color. Turn only once, and check occasionally to be sure the harcha aren't coloring too quickly, as they need some time to cook all the way through.

6. Serve immediately with jam, cheese, or butter. Or, dip the harcha in syrup made from melted butter and honey. (To make the syrup, heat equal portions of the butter and honey until bubbly and hot.)

7. Harcha can be reheated in a pan or in a 350°F (180°C) oven for a few minutes. They store well in the freezer.

* Instead of shaping the dough into balls, you can cut out rounds if your prefer. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes, sprinkle your work surface with semolina, then press the dough flat into a large 1/4" thick disc. Cut out rounds and proceed with cooking the harcha on a griddle.