Meloui are round Moroccan pancakes (and a type of rghaif) shaped by rolling a folded strip of dough up like a rug, and then flattening the upright coil into a circle. They can be eaten plain or with syrup made from butter and honey.
The technique to fold the dough can be confusing if you've never seen it done.
This recipe uses half semolina and half white flour, a mix which I highly recommend. You can use all white flour if you prefer, but the texture and taste will be more like basic msemen.
- For the Dough:
- 2 cups flour (250 g)
- 2 cups fine semolina (360g)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (approx. 1/3 liter)
- For Folding and Cooking the Msemen:
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup very soft butter
- 1/2 cup semolina
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water, and mix to form a dough. Add more water if necessary to make a dough that is soft and easy to knead, but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little flour one tablespoon at a time.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes (or knead the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes), until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
- Proceed with directions below for folding and cooking the dough.
Folding the Meloui
- Divide the dough into balls about the size of small plums. Cover with a towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- Take a ball of dough and flatten it on a large, oiled work surface. Use oiled hands to stretch and flatten the dough as much as possible into a large circle.
- Dot the dough butter and sprinkle with a little semolina. Fold the dough into thirds as you would for a letter - fold the top third down into the center, and then fold the bottom up to cover the first fold.
- Dot the strip of dough with more butter, sprinkle on a little more semolina and then fold again into thirds like a letter. You'll be left with a very narrow strip of dough.
- Flatten the dough to remove any air bubbles, sprinkle it with semolina, and roll it up like a rug into a coil. Pinch the loose end of the dough onto the coil to seal it, and stand the roll upright on an oiled try. Coat the folded dough with more oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat the folding process with the remaining balls of dough.
Cooking the Meloui
- Preheat a pan or griddle over medium heat. In the order in which you folded them, take a coil of dough and flatten it into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Try to flatten it evenly from the center outward so you can see the coiled effect.
- Transfer the flattened dough to the pan, and cook for about 5 minutes, turning several times, until the meloui is golden brown and the dough is cooked thoroughly.
- Serve meloui as-is hot from the pan or dip in a syrup made from equal portions of butter and honey (heat the butter and honey until hot and bubbly).
- Cooled, leftover meloui can be frozen. Reheat frozen meloui in a frying pan or in a 350 F (180 C) degree oven for a few minutes, just until hot. Don't leave them in the oven longer than necessary or they'll dry out.