Moroccan Harcha Semolina Pan-Fried Flatbread

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Serve Harcha with Jam, Cheese or Butter and Honey. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Ratings (32)

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 is quite rich in that it uses all butter and milk—it is delicious, especially when hot from the griddle! 

This recipe calls for coating the cakes in coarse semolina before frying—this is optional, but creates a nice appearance and texture. 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 step-by-step tutorial, see how to make harcha.

What You'll Need

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

How to Make It

  1. In a mixing bowl, blend together the fine semolina, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, and blend with your hands or a wooden spoon just until the mixture is the consistency of sand and the semolina grains have all been moistened. 
  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.
  1. Shape the dough into balls any size that you like and leave the dough to rest a few minutes.
  2. Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium-low heat. While the griddle is heating, roll the balls in the coarse semolina (if using) and flatten each ball into a disc about 1/4-inch thick, or a bit thicker if you like.
  3. Cook the harcha over fairly low heat, about 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until they turn a pale to medium golden color. Flip 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.
  4. Serve immediately with jam, cheese, or butter.

Variations and Tips

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

Once cooked, you can 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.

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