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Beghrir – Moroccan Semolina Pancakes

Overhead view of spongy semolina pancakes called beghrir. The pancakes have a honeycombed appearance and are arranged in an overlapping circular pattern on the serving dish. A small bowl of butter and honey syrup is centered on the pile of pancakes.
These Moroccan semolina pancakes are called beghrir. Photo: Nada Kiffa | Taste of Maroc
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Beghrir or baghrir are spongy, melt-in-your-mouth Moroccan pancakes made from a crepe-like semolina batter. Light and tender, the pancakes are characterized by a unique honeycomb-like appearance. This is a result of yeast in the batter, which causes hundreds of bubbles to rise and break on the surface of the beghrir while it cooks.

Beghrir are rarely eaten plain. Instead, a sweet topping transforms them into a special breakfast or tea time treat. Moroccans are most likely to enjoy them dipped in a syrup made from butter and honey; or they might be served with butter, honey and preserves or jam on the side.

Beghrir are usually cooked only on one side. However, in some regions the cooks will flip them over briefly; in that case they might be called khringos. A very similar pancake is used to make Arab qattayef or atayef, which utilizes the lacy pancakes as a wrap for various fillings. Although not traditional, Moroccan beghrir can certainly be used in the same way.

Fine semolina or durum flour is usually regarded as key to a good beghrir. You’ll find recipes which use all semolina or part semolina, but all should have the yellow color associated with the semolina. The smaller the ratio of semolina to other flours, the less yellow the end result will be. Unfortunately, sometimes here in Morocco we find beghrir for sale that’s just a bit too bright in color—a dead giveaway that a bit of turmeric or additive was thrown in to color an inferior batter.

Years ago, beghrir batter needed to rest quite a while before it was ready to use. The introduction of baking powder to the batter sped things up considerably, so you’ll sometimes see recipes using it labeled as “instant beghrir.” Some versions include eggs and milk; others do not.

I find my version below to be the most reliable for consistent, good results. If your own pancakes don’t look like the ones in the photo, check the recipe notes for tips on adjusting the consistency of the batter or trying a different pan.

Overhead view of Moroccan semolina pancakes with a honeycombed appearance. The beghrir are arranged in overlapping fashion on the serving plate. A small plate holds a single pancake. Butter and honey can bee seen on the edge of the photo.
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Moroccan Semolina Pancakes - Beghrir or Baghrir
Prep Time
5 mins
Resting Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Spongy, light and delicious, these Moroccan semolina pancakes are best dipped in honey or syrup, or spread with jam. 

They're easy to make using conventional or traditional Moroccan measures. For the latter, use a drinking glass (about 12 oz.) as your measure. 

You can use all semolina or durum flour instead of the mix suggested below. (Just replace the white flour with an equal amount of the semolina or durum.) 

Be sure to read through the recipe notes for tips on getting good results.

Course: Breakfast, Tea Time
Cuisine: Moroccan
Yield: 16 5" (12 cm) beghrir
Calories: 81 kcal
Author: Christine Benlafquih | Taste of Maroc
Ingredients
US Conventional Measures
  • 1 1/2 cups fine semolina or durum flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups + 2 tbsp lukewarm water
Traditional Moroccan Measures
  • 2 glasses (to the brim) lukewarm water
  • 1 level glass fine semolina or durum flour
  • 1/2 glass all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Use a blender or food processor to combine all ingredients. Blend on medium to high speed for a solid minute to yield a smooth, creamy batter. If you notice anything sticking to the pitcher or bowl, interrupt the blending to scrape down the sides.

  2. Transfer the batter to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the batter appears light and foamy with lots of tiny bubbles.

  3. Heat a nonstick crepe pan over medium heat. When hot, stir the beghrir batter with a ladle, then slowly pour some batter into the center of the pan, allowing it to spread outward into a circle on its own. (Don't swirl the pan as you would for a crepe.)

  4. Cook the pancake without turning until set with no wet spots, about one to two minutes. (You can test the pancake by touching it lightly; it should feel spongy and no batter should stick to your finger.) Transfer it to a clean towel to cool.

  5. Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat if necessary so that the bottoms of the pancakes don't become overly brown. Be sure to cool the beghrir in a single layer before stacking them, otherwise they'll stick.

  6. Serve beghrir dipped in syrup made from melted butter and honey, or serve with toppings and spreads on the side. 

Recipe Notes
  • Leftover plain beghrir will keep for two days at room temperature when wrapped in plastic. Dipped pancakes should be kept in the fridge. Or, you can freeze plain beghrir for up to two or three months; in that case, be sure to place a small square of plastic wrap between each pancake to avoid sticking.
  • The consistency of the batter is critical to getting good results; it should be very similar to cream or crepe batter. Measure ingredients precisely and you should be fine.
  • However, if the bubbles still don't form properly, it could be because your batter is slightly thick; try thinning it with a tablespoon or two of water, allowing a few extra minutes for the batter to rest before attempting another pancake.
  • If you're not getting good results with the pan you're using, try another one. Know that all pans are not equal. Once I bought three tiny crepe pans to use for making beghrir. Two worked beautifully while the third yielded gummy pancakes with too-few holes on top.
  • Clearly then, a good crepe pan or small non-stick skillet is important to the process. Most Moroccans insist that a pan should be dedicated to the sole purpose of making beghrir. Normally you shouldn't need to oil the pan, but you can use a lightly oiled paper towel to clean off any residue between making pancakes.
  • For faster cooking, particularly if you'll be making a double batch, use two or three pans at the same time.
  • Beghrir can be made any size you like. If your pans are small enough, they can be your guide.

 

Nutrition Facts
Moroccan Semolina Pancakes - Beghrir or Baghrir
Amount Per Serving
Calories 81
% Daily Value*
Sodium 146mg 6%
Potassium 105mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 16g 5%
Protein 2g 4%
Calcium 3.1%
Iron 5.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Christine Benlafquih

Christine Benlafquih is founder and Editor of Taste of Maroc. A long time resident of Casablanca, she's written extensively on Moroccan cuisine and culture. She was the Moroccan Food Expert for About.com (now The Spruce) from 2008 to 2016.

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