Gorraasa is a soft, doughy bread enjoyed in the Sudan that tastes like a really thick tortilla. The texture is a bit more spongy, however, and when I pulled mine into pieces, I was delighted to find the slight elasticity at once addicting and good for picking up food.
Which is exactly how the Sudanese use Gorraasa.
They place a round of Gorraasa under stewed meats or other entrees, then tear off bits of the bread to pick up the food instead of using utensils. It can also be enjoyed on its own… as Ava demonstrates here:
I first learned about Gorraasa from Mark Tanner who spent quite a bit of time traveling through Sudan, though I found his recipe needed adjusting to work in my kitchen. Namely, more baking powder was needed to obtain the open holes (and if the batter happened to be too wet, the holes would pop before they set). Also, I found that, though he suggested flipping the Gorraasa while cooking, when I did so, the results no longer matched the photo he provided (which is of a Sudanese woman making them). My experience of other flatbreads in the region suggests that most of them, in fact, are not flipped (like the lahooh/laxoox and Injera).
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
water, as needed (2 1/2-3 cups)
salt, to taste
unroasted sesame oil or vegetable oil, for cooking
Let’s stovetop travel over to the deserts of Sudan…
First, whisk the flour, baking powder, water, and salt together into a large bowl. Be sure to use plenty of salt, to ensure a decent flavor.
You’re looking for a thick pancake-like batter. If you make it too thin, the bubbles won’t form properly.
When you’re ready to cook, brush a nonstick skillet with oil, then lade on the batter, spreading it out into a wide circle with the back of the ladle. Let cook over medium heat until the top dries out completely, about 4-5 minutes.
You may need to play with the heat to get this right. The key is to not overcook the bottom while the top finishes cooking. To move things along more quickly, you could always cover the pan with a piece of foil or a loose lid.
Keep warm under a towel and serve with a smile.
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