Early in the morning at Tel Aviv’s HaTikva Market, you can find one of the very last lachoh makers in town juggling a dozen skillets, cooking up a storm of spongy, crumpet-like pancakes as customers gather around. Some buy fresh lachoh to take home; others eat it right on the spot, dipped in hilbeh, a Yemenite fenugreek sauce, or filled with an entire Israeli breakfast: an omelet, chopped salad, cheese, and hummus.
Spongy like a crumpet on one side, smooth like a pancake on the other, this distinctive Yemenite bread gets fried on only one side and requires a cold nonstick pan to cook properly. This means you have to cool down the pan after each round or work with two pans, letting one cool while the other is doing the work.
Serve lachoh alongside hot soups and stews, to dip in, or for breakfast with butter, honey, and cream cheese.
Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019.
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp semolina (optional)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2¼ tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 3½ cups warm water
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, semolina (if using), sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir in the warm water until well combined. The mixture should resemble pancake batter. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for 1½ hours. At this point, the batter should have lots and lots of tiny bubbles—this is a good sign.
- Line a plate with paper towels.
- To cook the lachoh, you want to start with a cold pan—the opposite of what you would normally do. Grease a 9-inch (23 cm) nonstick pan with a bit of vegetable oil (no additional oil will be needed during frying). Add ½ cup of the batter and only then turn the heat to high.
- Fry for three minutes, cover with a lid, and cook for another one to two minutes, until the bottom is golden brown and smooth and the top is set and full of little bubbles. Slide the lachoh onto the paper towels.
- Remove the pan from the heat, rinse the bottom with cold water to cool the pan, and dry. When the pan is completely cool, repeat to cook the remaining batter, stacking the finished lachoh on top of one another.
- Serve fresh, warm or at room temperature. You can also freeze them, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to a month. Reheat gently in a microwave.