Malawach, also known as Melawwaḥ, is a traditional Yemenite Jewish flatbread. This bread is similar to a thick pancake but contains thin layers of puff pastry brushed with oil. It is traditionally consumed with hard-boiled eggs, zhug, and a crushed or grated tomato dip. Occasionally, people also consume it with honey.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Malawach was always known to be prepared by the women of the Yemenite Jewish community in their own homes.
It has always been considered a staple food of the Yemenite Jews. But, in the mid-20th century, the migration of the Yemenite Jews from Yemen caused it to become a very popular dish in Israel. Today, it is also considered a favourite comfort food by the people of Israel. One can also find frozen malawach in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and many others.
Malawach, also known as Melawwaḥ, is a traditional Yemenite Jewish flatbread. This bread is similar to a thick pancake but contains thin layers of puff pastry brushed with oil.
- Plain flour – 1 kg
- Baking powder - 2 tsp
- Sea salt - 2 tsp
- Honey - ½ cup or sugar (½ cup)
- Water - 2 ½ cups
- Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
- Unsalted butter (softened or melted) - 375g
- Sesame seeds - to garnish
- Begin by taking a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to it and mix all the ingredients well. Create a well in the middle and add honey (or sugar) and water. Slowly combine the flour using a wooden spoon. Keep mixing until you achieve a proper dough.
- Now, knead it for about 10–15 minutes or until a smooth, elastic dough is created. If required, you can keep adding a little extra flour every now and then. Drizzle a little bit of vegetable oil on the worktop and knead the dough for a few extra minutes on the film of oil. Make sure to keep kneading until you achieve a smooth dough and it’s soft enough to bounce back a little when you dent it with your finger.
- Next, take a baking tray and drizzle 3 tsp of the oil on it. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Knead every portion for about a minute or two on the oiled worktop. If required, you can spread a little extra oil on the worktop.
- Once done, form it into a ball. Keep the ball on the tray and glide it around to cover it with oil.
- Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the balls. Using your hands, cover the tops of the balls with the residual oil, flattening each one a little as you do so. This will ensure that they are all coated with oil.
- Cover the tray with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 1 hour.
- After an hour, brush a little bit of the melted butter over a large work area.
- Take 1 portion of the dough and place it on the buttered surface. Slowly and gently flatten and stretch the dough, lifting, pulling and stretching the boundaries away from the middle to create a very large, wide, almost-translucent rectangular shape.
- Then take a knob of the softened butter in your hands and spread it all over your fingers and palms. Softly dab your hands flat onto the dough, coating the entire surface with a thin layer of butter.
- It’s time to fold the left side of the dough across to cover the middle one-third of the rectangle. Then fold the right side over it. This will allow you to have a smaller rectangle. Add a little more butter across the surface of the rectangle. Fold the top end down and keep repeating the folding process, making sure to keep pressing gently to flatten after every fold.
- Once done, flatten and stretch the dough a little, then roll it up firmly, like a snail, beginning at one of the short edges. Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with all the other portions, then let them rest for around 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take a non-stick frying pan. Remove a roll, set it on the buttered worktop, and stretch the dough lightly using your bare hands. Keep pulling and pushing until it is flat and just a little bigger than the pan.
- Heat the frying pan over a medium-high flame and add 1 teaspoon of the butter. Place the malawach in the pan and allow it to fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until it becomes golden brown in colour and is cooked completely.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough rolls.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 599Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 476mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 9g