Nayfeh turning the dough into a flat round bread

Nayfeh turning the dough into a flat round bread

As part of the History Festival, the Arabic Language and Culture Association (ALCASA) hosted a delightful afternoon today, immersing attendees in the artistry and aroma of traditional Arabic flatbread. The event, aptly titled “Traditional Arabic Flatbread: Demonstration and Tasting Experience,” was held in the Migration Museum and offered a captivating glimpse into the rich tapestry of Arabic culinary heritage.

As the clock approached 2 p.m., guests eagerly gathered in the Migration Museum Chapel, greeted by the familiar warmth of “Ahlan Wa Sahlan”  (Welcome) and a gracious introduction to the workshop.

With an air of anticipation, Nayfeh Jahjah, our guest presenter revealed the simple ingredients of her ancestral recipe: water, salt, and her closely guarded secret wholemeal flour — a testament to the enduring legacy of tradition passed down through generations.

Venturing outdoors, under the Migration Museum Gazebo, the audience was treated to a mesmerizing spectacle as Nayfeh demonstrated the art of flatbread making. She flattened each ball of dough with precision, deftly twirling and stretching it to proportions!

We watched transfixed as the dough slowly change into delicate, wafer-thin sheets, destined for the fiery embrace of a hot, domed metal griddle (a saj). The bread sheets slowly rose over the heated surface, their surface bubbling and bronzing to perfection.

The aroma of freshly baked bread was in the air and guests savoured the opportunity to sample Nayfeh’s culinary handiwork. Guests also indulged in pre-made morsels of flatbread adorned with fragrant zaatar and cooling cucumber made by ALCASA volunteers. Accompanied by Arabic black coffee, the gathering found themselves surrounded by flavours, a celebration of culinary heritage shared amongst friends old and new.

Some guests dared to try their hand at making their own flatbreads, endeavouring to replicate Nayfeh’s masterful technique of spinning flattened circles. Yet, as the dough twirled and twisted beneath their fingertips, it became abundantly clear – Nayfeh’s mastery was a gift honed over time, a testament to the enduring legacy of tradition.

As the afternoon waned into evening, and the last morsels of bread vanished, it was evident that ALCASA’s Flatbread Demonstration and Tasting Event had left a mark on all 32 attendees. For in this fleeting moment, amidst the aroma of freshly baked bread and the conviviality of shared experience, we found not just sustenance for the body, but nourishment for the soul — a timeless reminder of the beauty inherent in tradition, and the joy of coming together in celebration of our shared humanity.

Hafiz Abdul Nasir


© 2024 Arabic Language and Culture Association of SA All Rights Reserved

Pin It on Pinterest