Tourist Tip #179 / Malawach, Fried Doughy Goodness

As one New York-based chef put it, if a quesadilla and a croissant had a baby, it'd be malawach.

Tired of carbo-loading with the same old bagel with a schmear or been-there-done-that pasta dish? While in Israel, why not expand your carb culinary horizons to include a staple of Yemenite cuisine?

One of the Yemenite kitchen's most popular dishes is a savory, fried pancake-shaped delicacy called malawach.

Don’t worry about its hard-to-pronounce name (mal-ow-akh): Focus instead on the golden, fluffy dough, made from layers of buttery phyllo dough brushed with oil or fat that is then seared in a hot pan. As New York-based chef Danielle Rehfeld put it, if a quesadilla and a croissant had a baby, it’d be malawach.

Malawach is similar in flavor to its culinary cousin jachnun, but while the latter is a slightly healthier baked option, malawach is an oil-drenched comfort food best enjoyed when you can wear your stretchy eating pants. Both are traditionally served with a hot sauce called skhug, a grated tomato sauce and a boiled egg to round out the meal.

For those who prefer sweet treats to savory, malawach can also be served with honey, or applesauce and sour cream.

Doram Gaunt