Cooking Moroccan for dummies –tried and tested

Moroccan Cooking for dummies –tried and tested

Well, this is finally happening! It’s been a year since I’ve been telling you all about my plan on cooking the food and then do a step by step for you all to see how this all works. Well if you have a couple of leftovers and a few hours you really don’t know what to do with, then join me in my Moroccan cooking experiment. I’ve also included as many of my own photos I could take so that you can clearly see how everything worked then turned out.

Sorry for the photo quality I do my best to get a new phone with a much better cam. 

My idea:
My basic idea of cooking is the following:
  • Recipes are good for start but it’s you who need to feel how good or bad they turn out
  • Measure ingredients as you feel
  • If you don’t have an ingredient at home, worry not, do your best to find a replacement. I did these recipes with replacements yet they turned out to be fine.
I will introduce you to two recipes of two breakfast food the Msemen and the Harcha. The Msemen has always been one of my favorites which I’ve been wanting to try cooking myself for ages and finally this has happened! I will let you know the results soon!

How this will all work
Step 1: we will  go through the written recipes
Step 2 we will prepare the dough and then the rolls
Step 3: I will draw the conclusion out of my own experience and let you know what you should do differently and also I will share with you how the recipe turned out for me.
The good thing in both recipes that they are made on a pan, you won’t need an oven any any specific cooking device to make them happen.

Let’s get started!

Basic ingredients:
  • Semolina – if you happen to have some unused semolina and you have no clue what to do with it, now it’s your chance to use some of it. Both breads are made with the use of semolina. As I only had the rough semolina I used that in both recipes. But if you get the chance to buy fine semolina or semolina flour, then go for it.
  • Butter – if you don’t have butter at home feel free to replace it with margarine or vegetable oil. The taste will not be exactly the same but it will pass
  • Normal white flour
  • Sugar, salt
  • Baking powder and yeast

  1. The Recipe and Preparation of Harcha
Harcha is a common breakfast pan bread however it’s generally sweeter than the normal bread, giving you way to eat it with honey, jam or butter as you like.

The classic Harcha Recipe provided by the courtesy of Christine Ben Lafouih
  • 2 cups of fine semolina  ( I used the normal semolina)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp  baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ of melted butter – I used margarine in lack of butter
  • ½ cup of milk  - or more if needed
  • Additional coarse semolina for cooking
PS: as I only had coarse semolina I also added white flour to the mix to avoid the whole become too rough.


Step 1: mix all the dry ingredients first and melt the butter
Step 2: add the melted butter to the mix and start mixing them all up
Step 3: pour the milk in and mix it well until you gain a semi wet mass that you can still form
Step 4: make balls and leave them rest for a couple of minutes
Step 5: roll the balls in some coarse semolina then flatten them in your palms to make them easier to handle and fry them on a very few oil on low heat. You will need to fry each site for at least 5 minutes. I had the pan covered to avoid humidity get out too early.

How Harcha looks like when you are eating from it
How the Harcha looks while being cooked 

My Conclusion:

I could make this recipe relatively easily. What I would have done different, is that i would have left the balls to rest for a longer time and would have left them a little bit more wet to help semolina to eat up all the more humidity so that it won’t be left dry and rough.
As the coarse semolina is pretty rough to eat, I would definitely suggest you warm some honey or get a syrup then pour it on them right away. This way they will get the wetness they need. It’s a good meal, definitely one to eat while very fresh.

  1.  The Recipe and Preparation of Msemen
Moroccoan Msemen
Im pretty proud they turned out this good for the first try

I love this sort of pan fried bread it’s extremely good with warm honey and butter and mint tea. It’s the perfect and regular breakfast in Morocco which I also happened to eat many times. I’ve always wanted to try how to cook this and I m glad I finally did.

Warning: this bread is especially filling and very oily. I do not recommend it for anyone who is particularly sensitive to oily food and I suggest you to get only half of everything out of the original recipe or you will end up with tons of leftovers.

Let’s get to see the recipe of Msemen:
  • 3 and ½ cups of regular white flour
  • ½ cup of fine semolina – I used coarse semolina
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp yeast
  • Warm water for making the dough
  • Vegetable oil for forming and cooking-  substitute this with any other healthier cooking oil which has a non invasive flavor

Step 1: mix your yeast with warm water an a teaspoon of sugar and let it grow
Step 2: during this time, mix the flour with the semolina and the salt and sugar – I used a bit less sugar I got used to it be rather salty but it’s your preference
Step 3: when your yeast is ready pour it in alongside some more water and make it a proper semi soft dough which should be hard enough for you to be able to easily make balls out of it.
Step 4: leave the balls for 10-15 minutes to let the yeast do its job.
Preparing Msemen
Make balls with oily hands and let them rest

Step 6: you will need to use vegetable oil to work with the dough.

Msemen Morocco
Msemen - You can fold them and add butter inbetween layers
but it's not compulsory

Easy and simple forming:
All you need to do is to get the ball, put it on a flat pre-oiled surface and flatten them with your palm until you get a larger flat non regular circle. Then start folding each side, until you get a square shape. You can repeat this more times if you want your pastry to be even more layered on the inside. I did just that and it was more than ok.

Final step
Heat up oil ( about one or two tablespoons depending on your pan size) wait until its finely preheated and then fry both sides for a few minutes.

Msemen before and after
My Conclusion:
I really liked my Msemen. It had become nicely layered and it filled me up instantly. I was not able to eat more than one at a time. However unlike Harcha, you can eat Msemen later on preheated as it’s quite oily it won’t lose its freshness all that fast.

It’s a great food and I definitely advise all beginners to start with this one if they want to eat something really easy and authentic in the same time.

Top Tip: eath both of these pan breads – but especially the oily msemen- with mint tea as it has a great soothing effect for the stomach.

Both these meals are extremely cheap and easy to make that’s why I thought they would be a perfect start for us dummies in Moroccan Cooking. I ’ve practically made both these pan breads from home leftovers and they turned out to be great.

Next time I will try to make more basic Moroccoan meals and will let you know and show you how they turned out.

Until next time! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!


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