Mesamen or musamen (Arabic: ميسامين), also called malawi, malawah or murtabak, is a rich traditional Arabian pancake-like bread. It is famous is the North African and Middle Eastern regions. These pancake-like breads are usually an accompaniment to a cup of aromatic morning mint tea or coffee. Msemen can be stuffed with vegetables or meat fillings. A stuffed variant from Yemen is called the murtabak and is famous in the Middle East and Asia.

Origin name

The original name is derived from the Arabic word samen or smen, meaning "clarified butter". The word me-samen or mu-samen means "with clarified butter", because it is a substantial ingredient to prepare the bread.

Is is also called Malawi in North-Africa and malawah in the Middle-East.

Origin dish

It is an Arabian dish which is prepared in many different North-African and Middle-Eastern countries. It probably has its roots in Yemen and travelled to other regions in the Middle-East and North-Africa during the Islamic mid-centuries. In many North-African and Southern Middle-Eastern countries it has become a staple food.


The recipe uses the following ingredients: flour, semolina, dry yeast, melted butter, salt, sugar and a bit of water. These are mixed well together into a smooth dough mixture. The dough is cut into several balls, which are then rolled out and folded into square pancakes.



See also


  1. Samuel Clark, Samantha Clark. The Moro Cookbook. Ebury Press, 2003. ISBN 009188084X.
  2. Alain Jaouhari. Marruecos: La cocina de mi madre. Intermón Oxfam Editorial, 2005. ISBN 8484523535.
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