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Maldouf date flat bread

Omani Maldouf

This distinctly Omani bread yields a deeply flavorful, flaky bread with a subtle molasses sweetness that complements spicier dishes/curries. It’s so delicious that I often eat it by itself.

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried dates pitted, 7-15 depending on size
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting and rolling
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup ghee, melted plus more for brushing and frying (at least another 1/3 cup)

Instructions

  1. Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with the boiling water; soak until softened, at least 1 hour. Mash by hand, then puree with the soaking liquid in a blender or using an immersion blender. Strain over a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve, using a wooden spoon to firmly mash and press the date pulp to extract as much liquid as possible. Scrape the date pulp on the underside of the sieve into the bowl; discard the date pulp in the sieve and set aside the date puree liquid.

  2. Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the egg and the ghee and mix with a wooden spoon until a crumbly dough forms. Slowly add the date puree, a little at a time, and begin mixing with your hands (add about 2/3 cup of the date puree in total) until the dough comes together knead the dough until smooth and elastic, 2 to 4 minutes. Divide the dough into 10 to 12 golf ball- size balls and briefly knead each baII in one hand until smooth and crease-free. Place in a shallow baking dish or bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel; let rest at room temperature1 hour.

  3. On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll each ball of dough into a thin circle, 8 to 10 inches wide. Brush the surface with melted ghee; fold up the bottom edge about 2 inches from the top, then fold the dough down from the top over the folded half so the dough just touches the bottom edge. You should now have a long, thin rectangle. Brush the surface again with a little ghee and fold each side in, one on top of the other, to make a square. Roll the square dough out, turning several times, to make a large, thin piece about 8 inches square. Brush the surface again with plenty of ghee.

  4. Heat a medium or large cast-iron skillet over medium heat and fry the chapati, ghee side down first, for 45 seconds to 1 minute per side (if it doesn't puff up, the pan isn't hot enough), brushing the top with plenty of ghee before flipping to make sure both sides brown evenly.

     Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with more salt, if desired, and serve with a curry.