Harcha (Arabic: حرشة, romanizedḥarša) is a griddle- or pan-cooked semolina flatbread native to the Middle Atlas in Morocco,[1][2][3][4] and also found in Algeria.[5]

Place of originMorocco
Main ingredientsSemolina flour, butter, water or milk, baking powder

Preparation edit

The cakes are made from a dough of semolina, butter, and milk or water, and leavened with baking powder.[1] The dough may also contain some sugar. The dough is formed into rounds and then cooked on a hot griddle or flat pan. The use of semolina gives harcha a crumbly texture comparable to cornbread.[6] In Rif, Morocco, buttermilk or yogurt, thinned with water, can be used instead of milk.[1] Harcha can be made into small breads, or large ones the size of a truck tire.[1]

Serving culture edit

Harcha is commonly smeared with honey and butter, and served with mint tea during breakfast or as a snack.[1] It is also one of the breads consumed during Ramadan.[7] It can also be served like a sandwich, stuffed with cheese or with meat confit. Finally, it can be crumbled and used as a tender bed for stew.[1]

Variants edit

Terminology for the bread may vary across Morocco and Algeria. Agronomy specialist Mike Sissons[8] for example mentions the term "mbesses" as a variant of harcha.[9] Mbesses however may instead refer to a sweet cake found in Algeria, also called Khobz Mbesses which has similar but not identical ingredients.[10]

In the late 19th century, Algerian bakers created a type of bread called El Khobz El Harcha, which was made by sprinkling semolina on the bread before putting it in the oven. This is clearly different from and should not be confused with Harcha, which is entirely made from semolina flour and other ingredients such as milk.[11]

In the rural hinterland of Algiers, it is commonly called harchâya, and the term ragda[12] is used elsewhere in Algeria.[12]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert. 2009. p. 116.
  2. ^ Casablanca: Authentische Rezepte aus Marokko, Nargisse Benkabbou, Lisa Heilig (Übersetzer). 2018.
  3. ^ Morocco Footprint Handbook by Julius Honnor. 2012. p. 472.
  4. ^ Morocco: Third Edition Front Cover, Pat Seward, Orin Hargraves, Ruth Bjorklund Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC. 2016. p. 131.
  5. ^ "Some traditional Algerian products from durum wheat, R. Kezih*, F. Bekhouche and A. Merazka".
  6. ^ Christine Benlafaquih (18 June 2019). "Moroccan Harcha Semolina Flatbread Recipe". The Spruce Eats. Dotdash. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  7. ^ Lonely Planet FR, Maroc 10ed, page 448.
  8. ^ "NSW Government, Department of Primary Industries, SISSONS, Mike". Archived from the original on 8 May 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  9. ^ Sissons, Michael. Durum Wheat Chemistry and Technology. p. 194.
  10. ^ "Taste Atlas, Mbesses".
  11. ^ Archive Marocaines, Publication de la Mission Scientifique du Maroc, 1907 volume 11, page 25.
  12. ^ a b Annales de l'Institut d'études orientales, Librairie d'Amérique et d'Orient (1955). Université d'Alger. Institut d'études orientales, Volumes 13 à 14 de Annales de lʹInstitut d'études Orientales. pp. 20, 332.