Msemen - Rghaif

Last year I made a delicious minced meat version of the stuffed msemen but now (a year later!!!) I realize that I should have started with the plain version. Just because it makes more sense and it’s less confusing for you guys. So better late than never! Here it is.

I find it pretty hard to describe a plain msemen. In my opinion “msemen” would be the alleged baby of a crepe and a mille-feuille. It is thin, soft and fluffy like a crepe but it’s also crispy and layer-y like a mille-feuille (minus the icing and the custard, of course!).

As you can guess msemen are just very very tasty. The process to make them might seem intimidating but it is actually very straightforward. Making msemen is all about making a dough, flattening it, folding it and finally pan-frying it!

I find it very relaxing and therapeutic to make msemen, I love flattening the dough as thin as I can! It feels like I’ve won a contest with myself every time I manage to flatten the dough super thinly without damaging it. But the best is when I cook them and my whole kitchen smells like sweet and warm butter! Isn’t life made of very simple pleasures?!

In Morocco, msemen (also known as "rghaif") are enjoyed for breakfast and/or teatime with anything sweet or savoury but I would advise having them at any time of the day, everyday!

Msemen - Rghaeif

INGREDIENTS

Makes 9 10x10cm msemen 

  • 150 gr plain flour and more for kneading
  • 150 gr semolina flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup to ¾ lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 20 gr melted butter

METHOD

• In a large bowl mix all the flours, salt, ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to form a dough. If the mixture is too dry and you can’t form a dough, add a couple tablespoons of water bit by bit. Make sure you don’t add too much water to the dough because it will make your dough very sticky and you won't be able to knead it. If this happens, add a bit of flour.

• When your dough is nicely done, lightly flour a worktop and knead for 15 minutes until light and soft.

• Once your dough is ready, divide the dough in small balls (for a 10x10 cm msemen make 5 cm diameter balls), place on a tray, lightly drizzle the balls with vegetable oil, cover with cling film and leave for 40 minutes in a warm place.

• After 40 minutes, mix the melted butter and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a small bowl.

• Transfer a ball of dough on a worktop, flatten it lightly and pour about ½ teaspoon of melted butter and vegetable oil mixture on top. 

• Using your hands, flatten the dough again but this time as thin as you can to make a circle or a square without damaging the dough. You will have to be quick for this process otherwise the dough will dry out and you might damage it.

• Fold each side of the dough vertically and then horizontally towards the center to make a square. Place the folded msemen on a greased surface and cover with a cloth or a cling film. Repeat the same process until you have folded all the dough balls.

• Lightly oil and preheat a non-stick pan over medium high heat.

• Transfer a folded msemen on a worktop, pour another ½ teaspoon of butter and vegetable oil mixture on the msemen and flatten it using your hands to about 0.5 cm thick.

• Gently place the flattened msemen on a warm pan and cook on each side turning several times until golden brown.

• Serve warm or at room temperature, with anything you fancy, sweet or savoury!