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The Moroccan Breads Rghaif & Harcha
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Q. I have searched desperately for the recipes for two Moroccan breads — Rghif (sounds like raif) and another that sounds like hersha, but to no avail. One is layered and I believe fried, similar to a crepe and often eaten with honey. The other is somewhat similar to our English muffin, but perhaps made with cornmeal. I tasted these in Morocco and am dying to make them now that I'm back in Canada. Unfortunately I can't find recipes anywhere. I would greatly appreciate if you could help.

A. Like Chinese, Mexican, Indian and many other world cuisines, there is great variety in Moroccan cooking. Recipes vary from region to region, town to town, and sometimes family to family, because recipes and procedures were passed from generation to generation by example, and not through the rigid, sanitized structure of a written recipe. Paula Wolfert, author of Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco (Canada, UK), says she realized early on that it would require a lifetime to write a definitive book on Moroccan cooking — and that it would be presumptuous for a foreigner to try in any event. Nonetheless, her book is considered the gold standard in Moroccan cooking, and she answers half your question with a recipe for Rghaif.

Anissa Helou answers the second part of your question in Café Morocco (Canada, UK) with a recipe for Harcha, which she calls Semolina Galettes.

And in our book, doing a little research on Google does not qualify as "searched desperately." Sometimes you really have to crack a book or even two books. This is especially true with foods from Arab countries, China, Thailand, Japan, Russia, and other lands that use a different alphabet, as the name of the dish is often spelled different ways when transliterated into the Roman alphabet. And spelling counts with those search engines….

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