Out of the Yemeni Kitchen: Lahooh

Published on 17 October 2013 in Variety
Wigdan Al-Guneid (author)

Wigdan Al-Guneid


Lahooh is a Yemeni bread unlike any other. It looks like a pancake but has a sour taste. This sourness is a result of the fermentation process used in preparing the dough and the proportion of liquid to flour. Because the bread is fermented, it is typically advised to be consumed the same day it is made and not saved or the flavor becomes much more sour and the bread stickier.

There are countless recipes for lahooh. They usually differ based on the amount of yeast used and the fermentation time.  

Lahooh in Yemen is very similar to injera bread in Ethiopia, the difference being in Yemen the bread is made with corn and wheat flour and in Ethiopia it’s made with teff flour. Lahooh, as well as some other delicious foods are thought to be a part of an African-Yemeni cultural fusion as a result of a long shared history of migrations, wars and intermarriages between both cultures.

Most Yemenis know lahooh as a part of dish called shafoot, a Yemeni appetizer that is made with a yogurt sauce and often garnished with greens, grapes or pomegranate, whatever is in season. As part of the cultural fusion, lahooh is also commonly consumed with the Ethiopian inspired dish known as zigni, a spicy meat sauce sometimes served with hard boiled eggs. The sourness of the bread compliments the spicy flavor of the dish.

Wigdan Al-Guneid blogs about Yemeni food for the website YemenKitchen. Find more recipes at  yemenkitchen.wordpress.com

1 cup of corn flour or corn meal, 2 cups of white flour, 1.5 eating spoons of yeast, 3-4 cups of water, Vegetable oil, Salt

Mix the white flour with the corn flour
Toast the flour mixture in an oven until it turns a golden brown.  Allow for it to completely cool. Mix the flour with the yeast, salt

Slowly add the water until the mixture is dissolved. Cover the mixture tightly with a plastic bag and place it near a window or another slightly warm area for 1.5 hours or until the mixture has large bubbles and a sour smell  
Warm a frying pan on the stovetop and cover its surface area lightly with oil. Pour the mixture into the pan as you would a pancake.  You can choose the diameter of the bread. Cook until there is not more liquid and the lahooh is soft and light brown in color. Flip the bread to other side. The bread should have an elastic consistency

Cover the bread with a warm towel until it’s consumed. Enjoy!