Harcha is a semolina galette, head to these previous posts (here, here, here, there and there too)to know more about it. If have liked my facebook page then I'm sure you would have seen more pictures and more versions of Harcha.
So I spent the last summer in Morocco where size does matter in our big family. We need a massive Harcha in the centre of the table for breakfast and potentially another one for snacking around 5 pm (the days are long during summer)..
Obviously Harcha, being a sort of bread in a way that you are meant to eat it along with something else (sweet or savoury).
Traditionally, harcha is cooked/pan-fried on a stove-top using a "maq'la ouejdiya", a sort of heavy enamel pan from Ouejda (an Eastern city of Morocco). It's standard size (in diameter) is somewhere around 35 cm.
|The traditional meq'la ouejdia, The darker (the older), the better.|
In Morocco, the pans for harcha are not as good and heavy as before but thankfully, my sister and my mother have both their old pans.
The mega harcha needs one of these but a heavy griddle or cast iron skillet will do.
Whatever the option, you will need to grease the pan and sprinkle some semolina on it before using it.
|Harcha with olives and herbs|
Now remember this, the best harcha is the one that combines fine and medium-size semolina (not couscous, not the fine semolina flour).
The best harcha as far as I'm concerned is the one originally from Hyayna, a village next to Fes.
Today's harcha is richer in term of texture but also because of the ingredients used to make it. Compared with the previous recipe I've posted, today's harcha has milk and butter (if you have read this post, I have briefly mentioned this option). In 2010, I have posted this recipe but it was in French and very limited to the recipe itself. Today's post will be in English and will contain more details on how to get a great mega harcha.
For a 35 cm/diameter heavy pan and 1 to 1.5 cm thickness (Serves 12)
Prep: 5 min - Resting time: 15 min to a few hours- Cooking: 15-20 min
For the harcha dough
- 450g of fine semolina
- 250g of coarse/medium semolina (or half/half)
- 1 tsp of salt
- 8 cl mix of melted butter and oil
- 40 cl approx mix of water and milk, lukewarm
- 5 g of baking powder
- 3 g of dried instant yeast ( optional), mixed with 3 tbsps of lukewarm water
- Thyme (optional), nigella seeds
For the pan
- About 1 heaped tbsp of coarse semolina
- 1 tsp of oil to grease the pan
"Bessess" the semolina: feed it with fat
Mix the semolinas with salt and fat. Work these ingredients with your fingers making sure all grains have been properly coated and it looks all sandy. This should take about 1 min.
At this stage, you can cover it and leave it for a few minutes to 1 hour. If you are in a hurry, move to the next step.
Add the baking powder and pass the sandy mixture between the palms of your hands to make sure it's fully incorporated. You may add the herbs and grains at this stage.
Slowly incorporate the liquid (and yeast if using it) to the mix to bring the dough together. Some people leave it slightly sloppy which is fine but it shouldn't be hard. I don't like it hard so It's easy to shape it and I don't like it sloppy either: too hard and you will have cracks, too sloppy and it will be somewhat rubbery.
You just need to combine the ingredients. DO NOT OVERWORK IT. This should take about 30 s at MAX.
In the meantime, grease the pan and sprinkle the semolina all around. Do not forget to cover the edges as well.
Shaping and cooking harcha
Lightly oil the heavy-bottomed pan and sprinkle with semolina, including the edges.
Flatten the dough anywhere between 8 mm to 1.5 cm (I prefer it thin). Sprinkle again from the top. Prick it a few times. Place the skillet over medium heat.Cook each side about 7 min until you see brown patches. We tend to move the pan skillet around to make sure the heat cooked it from all corners.
|My auntie at work, flattening the harcha|
|Levelling the top side|
When the first side is cooking, we see the colour of the top side changing as well, this is usually a sign that you should flip it. Use a flat plate or equivalent to do so in order to keep harcha in one piece.
Be careful while flipping it, as the pan might burn your arms.
Cook the other side for another 7 min or so.
|Harcha cooked through and with the thickness I prefer|
Serve warm or at room temperature.
If harcha is savoury then serve as is or with boiled eggs, cheese, butter, olives, pickles, cold cuts..
If harcha is plain then butter and honey will make a wonderful topping especially when the slices are still warm.
|Harcha with loads of spring onions and fresh thyme which I served with harissa|
Harcha should be eaten within 6 to 8 hours of the day it's been made.