If you're looking for pancakes, but with a Middle Eastern twist you need to try Chebab! Chebab is Emirati pancakes. They are deliciously soft, melt in your mouth, and are infused with warm spices such as saffron and cardamom. They are then brushed with butter for an unbelievably indulgent treat!
These delicious pancakes are one of a kind. They are a bit larger than regular pancakes with more holes spread across the surface! This is thanks to the yeast that we use to make these Arabic pancakes instead of the baking powder that we usually use in regular pancakes.
Families across the Gulf region in the Middle East have these tasty saffron and cardamom-infused pancakes during the Muslim holiday Eid, or during Suhoor in the holy month of Ramadan.
If you've never tried these delicious pancakes before, then you're in for a treat! They're incredibly easy to make and will give you soft and even rollable pancakes. You can fill them with sugar, honey, date syrup, or even Nutella if that suits your fancy!
Trust me, if you try these once, you won't ever want to have regular pancakes again! My recipe for Chebab is the most authentic one, passed down through generations, and I'm sure you'll love them!
WHAT IS CHEBAB?
Chebab are Middle Eastern yeast pancakes specifically from the Gulf Region from countries like the UAE. These delicious pancakes are soft, fluffy, and covered with holes on the surface. It soaks up any topping poured on top!
The word 'chebab' is derived from 'cheb', which means to pour. This describes the pourable chebab batter that's thicker than crepe batter, yet thinner than traditional pancakes. This gives you incredibly soft pancakes that are interestingly also rollable!
You can spread a delicious topping and roll these pancakes or stack them on each other for a more classic touch. Chebab are usually larger than regular pancakes and brushed with butter or ghee before serving. It will make them even richer and more indulgent.
WHEN IS CHEBAB EATEN?
Chebab is commonly consumed for breakfast, but it's most popular eaten during Eid-ul-Fitr, which Muslims celebrate after the end of the holy month of Ramadan, or during the month itself for Suhoor.
Suhoor is a pre-dawn meal and is a significant part of Ramadan, a month when Muslims fast for the whole month. Each fast starts from the first light of dawn until the setting of the sun.
And so, Suhoor is that last meal before the sun rises and the day of fasting begins. Meals eaten during this time are usually filling and often celebratory. That's where Chebab fits in perfectly!
These delicious pancakes have eggs and saffron, making them a deliciously indulgent and filling breakfast that is fit for the kings!
WHERE DID CHEBAB ORIGINATE FROM?
The exact origin of Chebab is not known. Still, we do know these delicious Arabic pancakes originated from the Gulf region of the Middle East and are most commonly eaten in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Back in the day, these delicious pancakes were the breakfast of the rich since they contained many eggs and milk, which was too expensive for people to add to a dessert-like breakfast. Many people would substitute milk with water to afford to make these indulgent pancakes back then.
And so, Chebab became more of a breakfast for celebrations, and to this day, Arabs enjoy it during Eid or Suhoor in Ramadan.
HOW WAS CHEBAB MADE TRADITIONALLY?
In the past, people didn't have non-stick pans like we do today. And the Chebab batter is thinner than regular batter yet thicker than crepe batter, which means it would stick to the steel or aluminum pans back then.
And so, people came up with an ingenious way of making these delicious Emirati saffron and cardamom pancakes!
A medium size aluminum can was punched or drilled with holes at the bottom. It was then placed on top of the open fire, and the steel pan for making Chebab was placed on top. This allowed the pan to heat up, giving Chebab that characteristic reddish color and also ensuring they don't burn lightly.
Plus, since the batter would stick to the pan when holes appear on the surface, the pan was flipped on top of the can to allow the chebab to cook on the other side without having to flip the pancakes, which would have made them crumble and fall apart at this stage.
Thankfully, we now have non-stick pans, which means making Chebab is as simple as making regular pancakes! But considering the length people went to to make these Emirati pancakes back in the day, you can imagine just how delicious they are! They were truly worth every bit of the effort!
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR CHEBAB
All you need are simple ingredients to make these delicious Emirati pancakes at home. Let's look at some of the main ingredients:
You can scroll down to the recipe card for further details and instructions.
Yeast: Chebab are yeast pancakes, so we'll use some active dry yeast instead of baking powder as we would in regular pancakes.
Sugar: We need sugar to activate the yeast and to make the pancakes soft.
Eggs: Eggs are another key ingredient that we use to make Chebab! It'll give them a rich taste while also helping bind the other ingredients together and make them deliciously fluffy.
Spices: Warm, delicious spices are what give Chebab that classic touch. We'll use saffron and cardamom to flavor these Emirati pancakes to give them the traditional warm, sweet, earthy, slightly spicy taste.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE CHEBAB
The full instructions are in the recipe card below, but let's look at the main steps to making this treat.
In a large mixing bowl, add the water, water, sugar, yeast, cardamom, and saffron, then whisk them together until they're thoroughly combined and the yeast has dissolved. Then add the eggs to the mixture and mix well, then add the flour and continue whisking until there are no lumps left.
Cover the batter and let it rest for an hour or until you see a lot of bubbles on the surface.
Place a nonstick pan on your stovetop over high heat, and wait until the pan gets hot. Mix the batter for a few seconds, then pour ⅓ cup of batter onto the center of the pan. The batter will spread evenly. Then turn the heat to medium heat.
When the surface of the batter has no wet spots and is full of holes, brush it with butter. flip the chebab and cook it on the other side until it turns light red in color.
Flip the chebab again for three seconds. Remove the chebab from the pan and place it on a plate, keeping it covered so it won’t get dry.
Your delicious Chebab is ready, and you can serve it with honey, maple syrup, jam, table cream, or date syrup!
💭 COOKING TIPS FOR CHEBAB
Here are a few tips that will ensure your chebab turns out perfectly every time:
- Use warm water for the batter, as it helps the chebab rise properly.
- Don't be tempted to pour too much batter into the pan at once - ⅓ cup is perfect. If you pour too much, the chebab will be too thick and won't cook through.
- Use a non-stick pan so the batter doesn't stick to it, and you don't have to worry about flipping the chebab without it crumbling or falling apart.
- Don't forget to lightly brush the chebab with butter or ghee before serving. This will give them a nice shine and a subtle buttery taste. Plus, it'll help make your Chebab extra soft and delicious!
- If you want to make a bigger batch of chebab, you can double or triple the ingredients and store any leftover batter in the fridge for up to three days.
- You can serve your Chebab with honey, maple syrup, jam, table cream, date syrup, or plain with some extra butter or ghee on top!
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS FOR CHEBAB
This classic Chebab recipe is the most authentic one you'll find online! But if you want to change things up and customize it according to your preference, here are a few ideas you can try:
Spices: Although Chebab is traditionally flavored using saffron and cardamom, you can omit them and add other warm spices you like, such as cinnamon.
Extracts: You can also flavor your Chebab with extracts such as vanilla extract or almond extract to change up the flavor. You can even add the zest of one lemon to make the flavor more lemony!
Filling: The best thing about Chebab is that these delicious pancakes are rollable. So spread some Nutella, jam, or honey, and roll them up before having them for breakfast!
🍲 MORE ARABIC RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
🌡️ HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CHEBAB
You can store any leftover Chebab in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can warm them up in the microwave in 20-second increments before serving by brushing butter or ghee on top.
Freeze the Chebab for three months. You don't have to thaw them if you are microwaving them.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup + 3 tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon active yeast
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- Add the water, sugar, yeast, cardamom, and saffron in a bowl, and mix until well combined and the yeast has dissolved.
- Add the eggs and mix well.
- Add the flour and keep whisking until you see no lumps.
- Cover the batter and let it rest for an hour or until you see many bubbles on the surface of the batter.
- Place a nonstick pan over high heat; when hot, pour a ladle or ⅓ cup of the batter into the center of the pan. The batter should spread evenly.
- When the surface of the batter has no wet spots and is full of holes, brush it with butter. Flip the chebab and cook on the other side until light red.
- Flip the chebab again for a few seconds. Remove the chebab from the pan and place it on a plate. Make sure to keep the chebab covered so it won’t get dry.
- Although saffron and cardamom are the authentic chebab flavors, you can omit them and use lemon zest, vanilla, or any flavor you prefer.
- The pan should be on high heat when you pour the batter because the heat will force more holes to appear on the chebab.
- Turn the heat to medium-high or medium-low after a few seconds from pouring the batter.
- To keep it moist, brush the chebab with butter or ghee when hot.
- You can serve the chebab with maple syrup, date syrup, honey, jam, or table cream.
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