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Khoubz F'tir, Kesra, Aghroum Aqouran | Algerian Semolina Galette



بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Algerians are big coffee drinkers. They drink in the morning at breakfast, after lunch and after dinner.  And many also do not hesitate to take a few breaks in the afternoon to enjoy a cup or two. And it is automatically offer you upon your arrival in any Algerian home.

Tea on the other hand (mint almost always) is drank with a little more restraint. Unlike their neighbors to the West. Coffee is served in the morning, strong and black. And with milk café au lait in the afternoon. This café culture was most definity brought over by the Ottoman Turks during the 1850s and continued with the influence of the French. 
The mid-afternoon coffee break is a daily ritual in which everyone participates. 

And the number one Algerian accompaniment to any coffee has to be Khoubz f'tir. Khoubz F'tir literally means "breakfast bread" or "daily bread" as it is usually eaten to break the fast. It's actually the first thing I ate when I first arrived in Algeria. And was also the first thing I learned to make here. So many wonderful are connected to Khouzb f'tir for me ... it has become my (and also my children's) absolute favorite. 


Long summer afternoons sitting in the courtyard chatting with family, friends and neighbors. My most vivid memories when I first arrived some 8 years ago, enjoying the rays of the Mediterranean sun and the pleasures of afternoon coffee. Khoubz f'tir was an always excepted treat, along with Maârek / M'semmen served with local orange blossom honey. 

This galette is an everyday "bread" prepared daily in traditional Algeria. Unlike, the traditional Khoubz el Dar, which it is baked, this galette is cooked in a clay tadjine placed on the stove or tabouna. There are several kinds of kesra, methods and designations differ from one region to another. 



It's is also known as Kesra, in the eastern regions of Algeria. But you'll find many other names according to which region of Algeria you are in: Ftira shorter nickname of Khoubz f'tir, Kesra khsiss, Aghroum akouran or Aghroum aqouran, Kesra Mbessa Rakhsis, Galette Algérienne de Semoule or even  كسرة مبسة. 

Khoubz f'tir is a very simple, completely semolina, flour-free bread/galette/flatbread that traditionally contains no yeast. Prepaing khoubz f'tir does not ask much energy or time ((smile)). It is economical and delicious with a little honey, jam or even cheese. Khoubz f'tir is thinner and denser then Khoubz el DarKesra rakhsis  or Maltou3. And also strudier, slightly harder due to the galette having no flour in it. Ideal for long storage, picnics, school lunch boxes or snacking on-the-go!

Today, I present my quicker express version that requires much LESS kneading and also a lot less fat, yet is still tender due to the use of baking powder. Let's get started!
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{ khoubz f'tir / kesra }

 ALGERIAN homestyle pan frid semolina bread made with butter or olive oil. 

YIELD: 2 large OR 12 galettes
ACTIVE PREP TIME: 15 mins 
INACTIVE PREP TIME: 10 mins
COOK TIME: 15-20 mins 


large mixing bowl, flat tadjine or cast iron pan or teflon pan 

۞ = SUBSTITUTIONS


  • 1 cups - 167g fine grained semolina (semolina flour) ۞
  • 1 cup - 167g semoule moyen (medium grained semolina) ۞
  • ¼ cup - 60mL of olive oil or melted butter (I use butter and oil)
  • 1 tsp of salt.
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • almost 1 cup - 230mL of  water


    MIX the semolina with the salt and baking powder. Rub the olive oil/butter into the semolina with your finger tips until it resembles wet sand.

    MAKE a well in the middle of the bowl and add in the  water. Gently mix to form a  homogenous and smooth dough. But be careful not to overwork the dough.

    ALLOW the dought to rest for about 5-8 minutes. Explanation for this: although this recipe calls for yeast, the dough still requires a rest. This pause helps the semolina to hydrate. Indeed, semolina with much larger grains than flour, it takes time to absorb the water. Again, as for kneading, some people sometimes let stand 2 hours. Here too, my version is faster, express from the use of baking powder.

    PREHEAT your tadjine or pan while the dough is resting. Use a medium fire.

    DIVIDE the dough into 2 (for 2 large galettes) or 12 (for 12 smaller galettes) Using the heal of your hand or rolling pin flatten the ball to a thickness of 1 cm - ½ in.

    PRICK with a fork all over the galette. This will help the galette not fluff or swell. You can also make designs using a cookie cutter. 

    ON a medium-low fire cook for about 3 minutes then turn the galette clockwise to obtain even browning. You may want to take a peep at the bottom so it doesn't burn.

    FLIP gently to the other side with the help of a spatula. Or alternatively, flip the galette into a clean plate, then slide back into the tadjine or pan with the cooked side up. Allow to cook for another 3 minutes then rotate. The galettes should be a deep golden brown color, but not burned. 

    REPEAT the steps until you've baked all of the dough. Allow the galette to cool before serving.


    These galettes are traditionally served with hot espresso style coffee or café au lait (coffee with milk) and local orange blossom honey. But are nice with mint tea, cocoa  or also spread with jam or Nutella.


    Storage
    Store these galettes in a clean kitchen towel, wrapped in plastic or a food container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

    Traditional Recipe
    Some people prepare this galette still the traditional way, without baking powder. But it requires much more oil and more kneading to obtain a smooth and tender dough. Others  add a little yeast to the dough. It makes the galette more tender, more like a bread. Adding yeast or baking powder (like I do) is a very natural and small concession to modernity and ease. If you want to try to put the yeast, then do not put a little, and in any case, do not put more than 1/2tsp ever for 500 grams of semolina. Yeast does not have the same effects as baking powder. If you leave it too long, the galette will rise like any bread ... and you will a Khoubz el Dar. Or if left way too long a very soured dough. With the baking powder, the dough expands during cooking. So sure you want kesra purely traditional, you do not put yeast.

    Variations
    Some people are a mixture of  large grained semolina and medium semolina, as I do.  While others, use all fine semolina. Experiment and see which you like the best.


    You can add different things in the dough like herbs or caramelized onions or stuff it with ground meat or with dates.

    Gluten-Free
    To make these galettes use GMO-free cornmeal instead of the semolina - use equal amounts. 


     CATEGORIES:  bread, ALGERIAN savory, BREAKFAST, TEA TIME, coffee break

    SOURCE:  ADAPTED FROM MY LATE MOTHER-N-LAW ALLAH YARHAMHA

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      13 comments:

      1. Salam Alaikum Henia,

        MashAllah it looks really tasty and i never knew to make it that thin before so thank you :)

        ReplyDelete
      2. I love mint tea! I have never made these before - your tutorial makes it look so easy!

        ReplyDelete
      3. Salaam and thank you sisters for reading and commenting.
        @Asmaa, yes you can make kesra as thick or thin as you like. It is very versatitle bread.
        @Karima, very very easy. fool-proof =)
        Enjoy!

        ReplyDelete
      4. Salaam, the way I was taught to make mbesses was more like a shortbread without a lot of kneading. It has become one of my favorites.

        ReplyDelete
      5. Salaam Narjis, it's true there are many ways to prepare all types of DZ dishes as the country is so vast with so many cultural influences. I've mentioned it in the post - to knead or not and how long ... the recipe is how i prepare mine.=)

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      11. oh i like this khobz so much yum yum !!!!!!!

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      12. I am excited to try this bread! I have been looking for a yeast free bread as my wife cannot eat it right now. I will let you know how it turns out!

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