Bread, in some form or other, is served with most meals in Morocco. In Marrakech, as everywhere else in the country, it is normal to prepare bread at home each morning and then have it baked in the traditional manner at one of many communal ovens in the neighbourhood.
One particularly tasty type of speciality bread made in Morocco and other North African countries is Khobz Bishemar, a wholewheat flatbread made with a blend of spices and herbs and filled with beef suet and onions.
Here is a simple and delicious recipe for it which you might wish to try.
For the Bread:
- 1 packet active dried yeast
- 60ml lukewarm water
- 280g unbleached flour
- 1 tsp salt
For the Filling:
- 115g beef suet
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley
- chopped 70g onion
- finely chopped 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1 dried red chilli 1 tsp (heaped) paprika
1) Sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water in a cup, once dissolved set aside to stand in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until the solution has begun to bubble.
2) Chop the suet and parsley and mix together with the onion and spices in a mortar. Mix the paste with the suet and set aside.
3) Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and form a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add just enough additional lukewarm water to form a dough. Shape into a ball then turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead for about 20 minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
4) Form the first ball of dough into a disc shape, stretching and flattening it as you go to make a rough rectangle about 20 x 35cm in size. Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture in the centre of the dough. Fold the right and then the left side of the dough over the filling by bringing the sides to the centre. Repeat this process with the remaining three pieces of dough. Set the parcels aside in a warm place for 45 minutes to rise.
5) Heat a griddle pan then prick each dough parcel with a fork six or seven times on both sides. Place the parcels on the unoiled griddle (they will fry in the fat released from their fillings) and cook for about 10 minutes each side, or until crisp. Dot each package with 1 tsp melted butter and serve.If you’ve followed the recipe carefully the bread should taste as good as it sounds!
If you’re thinking of visiting Marrakech you might like to take part in a moroccan cookery course at Les Borjs de la Kasbah where you can learn to make other traditional Moroccan dishes.