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.

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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.

Malawach, served with tomato dipping sauce and skhug.Credit: Wikipedia
Malawach. In this recipe it's being used to make pizza.Credit: Doram Gaunt