Barley and oat Moroccan bread rolls

Healthy Moroccan barley and oat rolls

Based on the same recipe for Moroccan barley galettes, I decided to replace barley semolina with steel-cut oat/oat bran. It turned out to be a wonderful combination that gives a moister inside (hearth), which makes it last longer without fridge/freezer.

With all the benefits known to barley, it might give a bit of flatulence. So adding oat to the dough makes its digestion much easier.

Barley and oat Moroccan bread rolls

Barley and oat Moroccan bread rolls. credit @Nada Kiffa

In the same frame of work, this dough is also sticky and does not need kneading. I just use a food processor for a few minutes to aerate it.

Either I flavour the dough with the traditional cumin seeds or aniseed options. Feel free to add any healthy seeds you like.

Barley and oat bread is freezer-friendly.

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Ingredients
Makes  about 12 rolls
Prep: 7 min – proofing: 2 h + 1 h (depending on the weather) – baking : 20-25 min

  • 150 g of steel-cut oat or oat bran (small or medium calibre)
  • 250 g of tap water, normal to lukewarm temperature
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt
  • 200 g of barley flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of instant dried yeast + 3 to 4 tbsps of lukewarm water
  • 100 g of lukewarm water
  • 15 g of linseed or flax seed
  • 1 heaped tbsp of cumin seeds or leveled tbsp of aniseed

To roll

  • 5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • About 200 g steel-cut oat or barley semolina

 

The texture of Moroccan barley bread

The texture of Moroccan barley bread, Cedit @Nada Kiffa

Preparation

In a bowl, mix yeast with 3 to 4 tablespoons of lukewarm water.

In a larger bowl. mix the first 3 ingredients: oat, salt and water. Stir. Add the seeds

Fold in the the barley flour and the yeast mix. Start mixing and incorporating the water as you go.

Mix the ingredients by hands (*) or using a food processor (with a paddle attached) for about 3 minutes just to aerate.

Cover and set aside for a few hours (2 to 3) until the dough softens and become slightly spongy.

Pour the olive oil in a small plate and spread the oat in a bigger plate.

Grease your hands with olive oil and try to roll the dough the size of a golf ball. It does not have to be perfect. Once you place the ball over barley grits and roll it, it will be easier to get a rather regular shape.

Place each ball on the baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Slightly flatten it anywhere between 1 and 1.5 cm. It will slightly rise during baking but it will be hardly unnoticeable. 
 
Cover the baking sheet with a damp tower and set aside in a warm place for about 60 min.
 
Bake in a preheated oven at 200-220 degrees C (fan/regular) for about 20 min.

Notes

 (*) If you are used to make enriched sweet dough by hand then this bread will need the same treatment for about 5 min.

(**)I also like to bake it for 20 minutes to keep the crust slightly soft considering that I use this bread for my morning or afternoon open sandwiches and my panini-maker gives the sides a nice crisp. So bake it depending when and how you will be serving it.


Moroccan barley galettes served with extra virgin olive oil and different types of Moroccan honeys

Moroccan barley galettes: Harcha d’ chaiir

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If making bread gives you headache, this healthy version is the right thing for you!

Barley bread or flat galette is a common thing across Morocco. Barley happens to be one of the healthiest option one has when diabetes is lurking around. With a little slice, you get a feel of satiety as opposed to whole wheat or white flour!

 

Moroccan barley galettes served with extra virgin olive oil and different types of Moroccan honeys

Moroccan barley galettes with the usual spread. Credit @Nada Kiffa

I made barley bread during all my pregnancy because I suffered from gestational diabetes and I was able to manage my sugar blood levels most of the time while still enjoying bread.

Mehrach or Barley bread in Moroccan street food

When I was little, I recall my father bringing barley bread for breakfast and heat a mixture of honey and olive oil, then dip a slice until it’s fully soaked and almost caramelized. It was such a treat along with a good glass of hot mint tea!

Unfortunately, most of the barley bread found sold in different stalls across Morocco seems to be mixed with regular white flour. The real deal is still there but only a few offer both options..

Barley bread or harcha are easy to make because you just need to mix and let proof, shape and let proof then bake. No kneading required. Harcha won’t need a second proofing and gets instantly pan-fried so it’s even less headache!

Barley has low GI

Since barley won’t develop a gluten network after kneading, so there is no need to do so. The only thing is that you will have to deal with a sticky dough and get your hands dirty as you will be dealing with a 80% hydration dough . No need to worry because you can use a food processor to mix and grease your hands with olive oil or water while shaping.

While the bread is freezer-friendly, the harcha galette is not and it needs to be eaten the same day or you won’t be enjoying it that much..The galette is thinner than the bread, so it might have something to do with it. I tend to freeze some, get them through microwave for a few seconds, split them and off to the panini maker or toaster.

Handling barley flour and grits

Initially, barley bread is prepared with 100% barley grits which should be given time to soak in water in order to plump up. But you can use 50%-50% grits to flour as indicated in the recipe below. Using the flour only will save you time while using grits only will give you a dense bread. Mixing them both will give you a good texture.
I do tend to add oat bran or wheat bran to replace one or the other and make other healthy versions of barley bread or harcha. They really come out great!
Another classic combo for a Moroccan breakfast: barley bread, olive
oil and jben cheese

Ingredients
Makes 12+ mini rolls or 15 mini-harcha galettes
Prep 10 min- proofing: 2-4hrs – baking: 20 min

  • 300g small barley grits/semolina/tchicha
  • 200g barley flour
  • 20 g for fresh yeast or 10 g of instant dried yeast(you could replace with a ratio of sourdough)
  • Enough water to cover the barley grits (see recipe to understand the logic of work)
  • 1 tbps of salt
  • 2 tbsp of cumin seeds (not needed for harcha)
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil

Finishing and shaping

  • 200 g of barley grits for rolling
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil or a small bowl of water
Preparation
Pre-wash the barley grits/semolina 3 or 4 times and then add enough water to cover it (just about). The semolina will absorb most of it. Set aside for 4 hours or overnight.
Mix the yeast with 1/8 cup of lukewarm water to activate it. Set aside for 10 min.
Tilt the bowl to get rid of excess water. Add the salt, flour, yeast and stir to combine. Drizzle the olive around the dough from the sides of the bowl and try to flip it (the dough) upside down).
The dough should be tacky and sticky. Cover and leave for 2 to 4 hours depending on the weather. It won’t rise but it will become a bit spongy.
To make barley bread rolls
Cover a baking sheet with baing paper (or oil and generously sprinkle it with barley grits).
Spread a thick layer of barley grits on a small working surface, grease your hands with olive oil and try to roll the dough the size of a golf ball. It does not have to be perfect. Once you place the ball over barley grits and roll it, it will be easier to get a rather regular shape.
Place each ball on the baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Slightly flatten it anywhere between 1 and 1.5 cm. It will slightly rise during baking but it will be hardly unnoticeable.
Cover the baking sheet with a damp tower and set aside in a warm place for about 45 to 60 min.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200-220 degrees C (fan/regular) for about 20 min.
To make barley harchas
Grease a heavy griddle/skillet/heavy pan with a tiny bit of oil, Sprinkle barley grits and place it over medium heat.
Follow the same guidelines above except that you won’t let the harcha proof a second time and you will need to flatten it to a maximum of 1 cm thickness.
Place each flattened ball on the griddle/skillet/pan and cook each side until coloured (it’s good to have some dark patches). It should take about 10 min for the first side and about 7 to 8 min for the second one.
Some harcha-smiley faces’ with olives for the children
(using a smiley’ pancake pan)

Eat harchas the same day while you can keep extra barley bread in the freezer. Toast it or oven-heat it later on.

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Moroccan lettuce and orange juice and radis

Moroccan lettuce and orange juice

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Memories comes to me in the form of recipes. This is my parents refreshing lettuce, orange, cucumber and radish juice which I used to enjoy during lunch time in the spring and early summer days.

We used to have this over lunch when I was a teen..I asked my mother about it yesterday and it seems that I reminded her of her old recipes. We started a long discussion which went in different directions. Classic!

This juice helps digesting a meal and it makes some veg haters drink a dose of goodness without complaining (AKA my husband).

Adjust the thickness to your liking by adding more orange juice or a homemade lemonade.When the nephews and nieces are there for lunch, the extra lemonade (lemon, water, sugar) is an addition that makes them happy.

Ingredients
Serves 1-2
Prep: 5 min

  • 1 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 lettuce gem (called Sucrine in French), top and bottom discarded
  • A bit of cucumber, about a thumb long, discard seeds.
  • 2 small red radishes or about a thumb of a long one.
  • 1 tbps of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of orange blossom water

 

Preparation

Place the cucumber, radish, 1/4 of the orange/lemon juice in a blender/liquidiser. Blend until smooth. Add the rest of the liquids and keep blending for another 5 seconds.

Serve cold, with ice cubes or without.

Keep for up to a day in the fridge.

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Steamed Moroccan chicken, slightly roasted and served over a bed of diced and steamed potatoes and carrots

Moroccan steamed stuffed chicken 5 ways

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Have you ever steamed chicken? If not, you’re in for a wonderful discovery. In Morocco, we have a few ways to stuff it before steaming it.

I like steamed chicken, not only because it’s healthy to steam food but because the bird is incredibly moist. I can eat it hot or cold, so , so it’s quite convenient as well.

Steamed and semi-roasted chicken with vermicelli stuffing, served with
steamed vegetables with chermoula on the side.

Consider the recipe I’ll be posting today as a main idea you can work around. I’ll give you 3 options to stuff a chicken and marinate it the Moroccan way. But before you even get there, you want to clean it and brine it the Moroccan way first.

I tend to use baby chicken because we’re a small family here but back home the usual size is medium to large, which means that the bird takes more stuffing and more marinade.

Steamed and roasted chicken, stuffed with rice vermicelli and harissa
and served with the same combination

Even if you can’t fit all the stuffing in the chicken’s cavity, you can still steam it on the sides of the bird and serve it along with it.

Steamed and roasted chicken with herbs (see options below)

Before you marinate the chicken, you want to decide which colour you are going for. You could marinate the chicken with a red effect by adding more paprika to the chermoula or with a yellow effect by adding turmeric which also will call for ginger. Both are a matter of choice.

After the chicken is cooked through and steamed properly, or you could either semi-roast it or serve it as it is. We like to semi-roast it for a nice golden colour just before serving.
You could marinate the chicken 1 day ahead and even steam it 1 day ahead. It can be roasted the same day you will be serving it, which is quite convenient if you have a busy schedule, not to mention using leftovers for a quick meal when you don’t feel like cooking.


Ingredients

Serve 4
Prep: 20 min – Marination: 2 hrs- Cooking: 1h20 
  • 1 baby chicken (0.8 -1 kg),
  • 1 cup of chermoula (approx)
  • 1 cup of stuffing
  • 1/4 cup of green olives and pickles, finely chopped
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut in length then in chunks
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil to roast the chicken
Chermoula
  • 2 cups of coriander, chopped
  • 1 cup of parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 -2 tbsp of paprika (add the second spoon for a “red” finishing)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric (only add it if you are after a yellow finishing)
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger (only add it if you are after a yellow finishing)
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne or to taste
  • 1 tsp of sea salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsps of lemon juice
 
Vegetable stuffing
  • 1 cup of mixed vegetables: carrots, potatoes, turnip, peeled and diced small.
  • 1/2 cup of petit pois (optional)
  • 1/2 of ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
You could double the portion to serve around the chicken.
Rice vermicelli and chermoula stuffing 1
  • 1 cup of rice vermicelli, softened in hot water for 3 min. and kept “al dente” before draining. Cut the long vermicelli with scissors into 3 or 4.
  • 1/2 of the chermoula paste
  • 2 tbsps of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of harissa
  • 1/4 cup of green olives, chopped
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter
Rice vermicelli and harissa stuffing 2
  • 1 cup of rice vermicelli, softened in hot water for 3 min. and kept “al dente” before draining.
  • 2 tbsps of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of harissa
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil or butter
Rice stuffing
  • 1 cup of steamed or boiled rice in salted water and kept “al dente”
  • 1/2 of the chermoula paste
  • 1/2 cup of button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
Herbs stuffing
  • 2 cups of parsley
  • 1 cup of coriander
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped and seeds discarded
  • 1/2 cup of green olives, chopped
  • Salt, pepper and cumin to taste

Preparation

Prepare the bird

  • First of all, clean the chicken thoroughly and dip it in a brine for at least 3 hours (water, vinegar, salt and lemon).
  • Try to get rid of any fat between the skin and the meat (yep, those white spots, you will never find them in a chicken cooked Moroccan style). Be careful not to tear up the skin..
  • Wash the bird from the brine and pat-dry it, massage it with half of the chermoula paste mix mixed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside out and under the skin.

  • Leave to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Make the chermoula

  • For best results, use a pestle and mortar to make a smooth chermoula paste but a small food processor will do the job as well. Mix all the ingredients.

Vegetable stuffing

  • Steam the diced vegetables and the petit-pois over boiling water for 7 minutes. They should remain slightly firm from the inside. Mix with half of the chermoula.
  • Stuff the chicken’s cavity from the bottom then from the neck.

For all other stuffings

  • Mix all ingredients and stuff the chicken.

Steam the chicken

  • Place the chicken over the potato slices and carrots on the top side of the couscoussier or any steamer. Fill the bottom part of the double boiler to 1/3 with hot water and place over the top with the chicken. Cover and let steam for 50 min. You could fill in the side of the steamer with any leftover vermicelli or diced vegetables.
  • Once the chicken is tender and cooked through. Set aside until you are ready to serve.

Roasting and serving

 

  • Massage the chicken with olive oil and place it in a hot oven under the grill. Rotate every 10 minutes or until a side is looking golden to golden-brown.
  • Serve with steamed vegetables or pickles or just roasted potatoes.
  • You can serve it hot or cold depending on the season.
  • Use leftovers for sandwiches or salads.

 

Notes

  • While it’s not necessary to saw the skin, I find that this step keeps the chicken moist and the stuffing inside.
  • It’s always better not to fully stuff the cavity in order to leave some space for the steam to operate. I tend to only fill 3/4 of it at maximum.

 

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