[Sca-cooks] Khabisa with Pomegranate

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 28 20:33:15 PDT 2008

Dragon wrote:
>The distinction made here between "semolina" and "flour" that appears
>in these recipes has more to do with whether it is hard durum wheat
>or a softer "bread" wheat that is the source of the flour. They do
>result in markedly different textures and it would not be unusual to
>use both in a recipe in order to achieve a firmer texture than soft
>wheat alone or a softer texture than semolina alone.

I know when i was in Morocco, in Dec. 2000-Jan. 2001, nearly every 
item i ate that was made with "flour" was semolina, hard wheat type, 
or mostly hard wheat. In fact, much of the semolina flour was freshly 
ground for Ramadan, so quite yellow (flour whitens as it ages).

I don't know a great deal about flours, but am i correct in assuming 
that when it is first ground it is a bit moister than it will become 
with aging? ...although, of course, it can absorb moisture from the 
air again.

All the breads - yeasted and unyeasted, flat and risen, baked and 
pan-cook - tended to a certain "firmness".

When i bought a loaf off a baker's tray in the middle of a windy path 
in a medina, i was surprised by its firmness and dryness - it was 
fragrant with orange flower water and anise (which i don't normally 
like, but which seemed perfectly appropriate in this setting) and 
topped with sesame seeds, so i expected something tender, which it 
was not.

I went to meet up with my daughter, who was doing a semester abroad 
in Morocco. The family she had been living with (the mother was a 
nurse and the father a professor) had purchased a sack of whole wheat 
berries. They then washed them clean and spread them out on their 
balcony to dry - they lived in an apartment building, not a 
traditional-style house - but it had a vast balcony. Once dry they 
took the wheat to a miller. This was the flour they used for all the 
Ramadan cooking.

The mother and the younger daughter (the older one was attending an 
American university in Florida) then spent a great deal of time every 
day kneading and kneading and pulling and stretching, then kneading 
and stretching the dough some more, in a large ceramic gs'aa, glazed 
on the outside, but unglazed on the inside, with very low sides 
(1-1/2 to 2 inches). I really wanted one, but it would have been too 
difficult to get home. They had a modern gas stove in their kitchen, 
which i never saw them use. Rather, they cooked everything on a 
two-burner kerosene stove sitting on a counter near a door onto the 
balcony. They only used the gas stove by putting cooked food into the 
unlit oven to keep it warm before serving.

The modern Moroccans have quite an array of yeasted and unyeasted 
pan-cooked doughy-bready things, many of which are served with a lot 
of melted butter and warm honey. (trust me, pita is so totally 
inappropriate for Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian meals).
I ate Beghrir, Krachel, L'harcha, M'semmen, Mkarkach, Mlaoui, 
Rghaif... then there are the regional specialties...
("r" is flapped or rolled as in Spanish or Italian, "gh" is kinda 
like French or German "r" only more guttural)

I notice in reviewing modern Moroccan recipes that some use a mix of 
hard wheat flour and soft wheat flour, AND work in some semolina, 
some are made only with flour, and others made only with semolina so 
they have a "cornmeal" texture.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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