The name of this bread is derived from the Arabic word “ma,” meaning water, and it indicates the relatively large quantity of water in the recipe for the thin dough. With its spongy appearance and texture, mawi recalls the Yemenite lachuch and the Ethiopian injera. It belongs to the pancake-like family of breads (skillet flatbreads) common throughout the Middle East. In ancient recipes, a fermented batter of water and flour was used; in modern recipes, still popular in the region, white flour is used, sometimes with the addition of semolina, yeast, and sugar. Mawi is still prepared locally, including in some of the bakeries in the Old City for Ramadan.
This modern rendition, created by baker Safa Boshnak, was inspired by the traditional bread.
- 2¼ cups / 250 grams all-purpose flour
- 1⅔ cup / 250 grams coarse semolina
- 2¾-3 cups / 650-700 ml lukewarm water
- 1 medium egg
- 2 teaspoons / 8 grams active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon / 20 grams sugar or vanilla sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon / 15 grams baking powder
- To serve:
- Date molasses, raw tahini, honey, maple syrup, or jam
- In a food processor, blitz together all the ingredients, except the baking powder. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover and let rise for 45 minutes at room temperature.
- Add the baking powder and mix well.
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, lightly grease the skillet and pour ¼ cup of the batter. Fry until bubbles appear on the surface, 30-60 seconds. Flip and fry for 20-30 seconds more.
- Serve hot with a syrup of your choice – date molasses and raw tahini, honey, maple syrup, or jam.