Although you can buy chili oil, it's easy to make using Moroccan chili pepper flakes, also called piment fort, felfla harra or Moroccan hot paprika. See How to Make Chili Oil.
Also see How to Fold and Make Msemen.
Yield: Approximately 20 msemen (4" square)
- 4 cups flour (340 g)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (approx. 1/3 liter)
- * * *
- For folding and cooking the msemen:
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup fine semolina
- 1/4 cup very soft unsalted butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chili oil
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the 1 1/2 cups of water, and mix to form a dough. Add more water or flour as necessary to make a dough that is soft and easy to knead, but not sticky.
Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes, (or knead the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes), until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Proceed with folding and cooking the dough. See How to Fold and Make Msemen, or follow the directions below.
Oil a tray, and with well-oiled hands, divide the dough into balls and set them on the tray. (Balls the size of apricots or small plums will yield 4" to 5" square msemen. Adjust the size to your own preference.)
Generously oil your work surface with vegetable oil. Take a ball of dough, and with oiled hands spread it into a paper-thin circle or square. Dot the flattened dough with a little butter and chili oil, and then sprinkle some semolina over the dough.
Fold the flattened dough into thirds as you would a letter, and then fold that elongated strip of dough into thirds again to form a square. Set the folded dough aside on the tray and repeat with all the balls of dough.
Heat a frying pan, cast iron skillet or griddle over medium to medium high heat.
Now you'll really be using the chili oil. Take a square of dough, coat it on both sides with the chili oil, and pat the dough on a flat surface with your fingers or palm of your hand to flatten it until approximately double in size.
Place the msemen in the pan and fry, turning over several times, until golden brown and the center of the msemen is cooked (it should be chewy, but not gummy or raw). This should take several minutes. As you cook, you can drizzle additional chili oil on the msemen if desired.
Transfer the msemen to a rack, and serve while still warm.
Cooled msemen can be frozen in a plastic storage bag, and reheated in a frying pan or in a 350° F (180° C) oven for several minutes.