As the air gets a little cooler by the day, I get the breakfast-club-in-my-bathrobe vibes, do you know what I mean? The warmth of the kitchen with the scent of spices like cinnamon or cardamom welcomes my kids in the morning after a long week of quizzes, projects, and book reports. Making breakfast is therapeutic for me, a chance to be in the moment and come up with creative dishes with what I have left in the pantry or garden. This Saturday, I had a sack of semolina and a ton of fresh figs from my fig tree. My parents planted the tree for me, because they love figs but they live in a cooler area where figs don’t grow. I live in a warmer area where figs grow like weeds. So I make sure to give them most of the harvest, and the rest go into my salads, snacks, or in this case, on top of Moroccan style pancakes.
I did a live breakfast club stream this past weekend, in the hopes of interacting with the audience just like I did in my cooking classes. If you want me to continue this series, let me know in the comments below and I will keep them going whenever I get the chance! Generally I would stream live on Saturdays at 11:00 am Pacific time, but keep it up on demand to view anytime.
So back to the Moroccan pancakes, otherwise known as Harcha. What’s unique about these pancakes is they are made with semolina, so they have a grainier almost cornbread texture. The next ubiquitous ingredients are milk and a little butter, along with yogurt. The yogurt adds filling protein and yields a tender texture. Generally, street vendors in Morocco sell these pancakes with butter, jam, or honey, but for a twist I drizzled mine with cardamom grape molasses. Grapes and figs compliment each other in flavor, and since I got this new molasses from Wild Garden, I wanted to put it to good use and now I am absolutely obsessed with it: https://amzn.to/3DaYKkL
Traditionally these pancakes are served for breakfast, especially for Iftar during Ramadan. The name Harcha means “rough” in Arabic, because these hotcakes do have a rough texture on the outside. Generally, more semolina is sprinkled on the outside as you cook them, yielding a rustic and almost crunchy exterior, and a tender and moist interior. Sort of like those cornmeal deep dish pizza crusts. Some historians theorize that these pancakes originated from the Berbers during Medieval times, but the popularity of this warm breakfast treat is still strong and alive today.
Traditionally Harcha is almost bread like, with a dry dough that can be challenging to work with. My recipe creates a softer more pliable pancake that is much easier to flip over. Check out my live breakfast club stream below for more on the type of flour I like to use, as well as questions I answered from the live audience:
HARCHA – MOROCCAN SEMOLINA PANCAKES
- ½ Cup Greek Yogurt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 4 tbsp melted butter (cooled to room temperature)
- ½ cup milk (any kind, regular or plant milk)
- ½ cup semolina
- ½ cup flour (I like Francine: https://amzn.to/3mgVb5D or Caputo Flour: https://amzn.to/2Y9Z9ET
- ½ tsp cinnamon
Combine the Greek yogurt, baking powder, and baking soda. Let set for 1 minute to give the agents time to react. The yogurt should be more fluffy. Whisk in the butter and milk. Gently fold in the semolina, flour, and cinnamon. Heat a buttered griddle to 375 degrees, pour about ⅓ cup for each pancakes. Flip over after seeing bubbles to the surface.Serve warm with butter, honey, jam, fruit, or grape molasses.