Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Beghrir (Semolina Pancakes with Honey)

I have always been fascinated by Arabic food. I like its simplicity, diversity and varied  flavours. I assume most of them do. They are mild, full of flavour and require less manual labour compared to Indian cooking. Dint I tell you about the book that I borrowed from the Library, the Moroccan one? I am so in love with that book and I hope to cook some dishes from that book apart from flipping the pages every now and then. Some of the recipes I wanted to prepare require spices and pastes which need to be pre-made at home or rather bought from super market, which is slowing me down in trying most of the recipes. Once they are sorted, I am hoping to share you some nice tagines on buttery couscous, kemia, salads, pickles and sweets. But for the time being I will offer you this easy peacy airy pancakes called Beghrir. Long back when I was little we used to live in the Arab neighbourhood and my mother had learned this pancake recipe from one of the neighbours. But she used wheat flour and plain flour instead of semolina. Those pancakes had similar taste too, apart from the difference in the texture.

As per the book, these are great favourite for breakfast or a sweet snack. Bubbly and airy on one side and smooth on the other, they melt deliciously in the mouth with a drizzle of honey, lashings of butter or a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon. I just slather it with butter or desi ghee (clarified butter) and sprinkle some sugar on top, just fold in half and enjoy. I guess these are best eaten with honey whilst warm.

Beghrir (Semolina Pancakes with Honey)
Serves 3
113 g/ ½ cup plus 1 ½ tbsp  fine semolina/farina/sooji
125g /3/4 cup plus 2tbsp plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg

¼ cup warm milk
1 ½ tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups of water
Butter to baste on the beghrir
Honey to serve

1.Mix yeast in warm milk and sugar and leave it aside until it dissolves and becomes frothy.

2. sift semolina, flour, salt and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.

3.Make a well in the centre.Whist the eggs slightly and add it in, along with yeast mixture and water and using wooden sponn start drawing flour from sides of the bowl. Beat in the mixture for about 5 minutes, until light and smooth.  You need to have a thick pouring consistency batter. Add more water if need be. Cover and leave to prove in a warm place for4-6 hours or until its frothy.

4.To make Beghrir, heat a non stick frying pan, wipe it with  little oil.  Pour a small ladleful of batter and swirl the pan to make a thin pancake of about 8-10 cm in diameter. Let it cook on one side until the surface looks dry and is perforated with bubbles. Gently rub with melted butter; lift it out of pan and transfer to a heated plate. Cover to keep it warm until you cook the rest of pancakes.

5. Heat the honey gently and serve the pan cakes immediately with the honey drizzled on. You can use caster sugar instead, flavoured with cinnamon powder.

NB: This is halved measurement of the original recipe. You can double the amount and make as required.
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