Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
Essays | Recipes | Gallery

Khoubz al-Riqaq
Thin Arabian Pan Bread
This unyeasted, fried whole wheat bread is often eaten with tea or as part of a Ramadan suhur meal, just before sunrise
Total time: 4 hours
Dough preparation: 30 minutes
Resting: 3 hours
Frying: 30 minutes
6 cups whole wheat flour (if available, use chapati flour)
2 tsp. salt
3 cups water
Vegetable oil for frying

Stir together the flour and salt, then add the water. Mix and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Continue kneading for at least 15 minutes, then remove the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp dish towel, and let it rest for 3 hours. (Do not skimp on the resting time; the gluten needs to relax so that you can work with it more easily.)

Divide the dough into twelve equal portions and form them into balls. Flatten them into thin rounds about 6" across, then cover them with a lightly damp dish towel and let them rest for another half hour.

Lightly grease a heavy skillet and heat it over medium heat. One at a time, cook the loaves for about 2 minutes per side, until they are golden brown, then remove them to a serving bowl lined with a dry cloth to keep warm until serving time. Continue baking the loaves, regreasing the pan as needed with a lightly oiled cloth. If you do not plan to serve them for an hour or more, put the bowl into the oven and turn the light on. For a special and more substantial treat, an egg may be broken across the bread as it cooks, and a little sugar and cardamom sprinkled on top.