When’s the last time you had a flatbread that resembles a pancake and pulls apart like a croissant?
That irresistible, buttery, flaky flatbread is Malawach. Yemenite Jews brought this traditional bread with them to Israel in the ‘50’s, and it was commonly eaten for breakfast where it was served with a drizzle of honey or with hard boiled eggs, grated tomato, and zhug (a Yemeni spicy herb sauce). Malawach has since crossed over into mainstream Israeli culture, you’d easily find someone enjoying this flatbread as an afternoon snack or scarfing them down after a late night of drinking. These days, Israeli restaurants from L.A. to New York offer malawach on their menus, so its increasing popularity isn’t surprising.
Several cultures have a flatbread similar to malawach like Chinese scallion pancakes, South Indian paratha, or Moroccan m’smen, but each has its own methodology: scallion pancakes use oil instead of butter, paratha adds egg to the dough, and m’smen uses oil and semolina flour. Malawach is prepared without oil or eggs, just lots of butter, spread liberally, creating a laminated dough as it’s folded and rolled. The addition of pastry flour in this recipe yields an unmistakable light, buttery, flaky texture to boot.