Recipe: Sudanese Flatbread | Gorraasa

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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:

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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).

Ingredients:

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

Method:

Let’s stovetop travel over to the deserts of Sudan…

The desert of east Sudan. Photo by Sharif Baasher.

The desert of east Sudan. Photo by Sharif Baasher.

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.

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You’re looking for a thick pancake-like batter. If you make it too thin, the bubbles won’t form properly.

Tip: To fix this, simply stir in a little extra flour.

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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.

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Keep warm under a towel and serve with a smile.

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Comments

  1. Serve with a smile…. indeed!

    I was anxiously waiting for this bread, and hoping it to be less complicated than the injeera as I never had the courage to ferment my teff flour for days… :-)

    I might give this recipe a try soon

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Yes, this has none of the fermentation time or flavor of injera – and it is very doughy, like tortilla. A totally different experience! Watch for another flatbread this week, too :)

  2. aunty eileen says:

    you make everything look so very lovely Sasha!

  3. Looking forward to trying this recipe. I have trouble with salt…seems to be either too much or too little…how much did you use? Also, should the bottom be brown & crispy or not?

    • aunty eileen says:

      even tho, this is the actual recipe (not brown or crispy) try some both ways would be my suggestion and see how you prefer… why not? might be a bit dried out? Let us know :-)

  4. Rick Scott says:

    Do the Sudanese have baking powder? How do they leaven their flatbread? (Curious to know, not necessarily curious to try.)

  5. Could this be done with whole wheat flour as well?

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I’d think so… although the flavor will be quite different and you may need more or less baking powder. I think a blend might be the best approach, like 1/3 wheat.. especially because wheat flour isn’t as springy as white… so the gorraasa would be more dense. Worth playing around with, though :)

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