Hooyo’s sabaayad recipe proves versatile in various cuisines


Miski Mohamed

This mouthwatering sabaayad can be made with ease, requiring only four simple ingredients.

Languages merge, music transcends barriers and food brings people together. Many cultures have similarities to each other due to influence, trade routes and geographical proximity. For instance, “flatbread” is a traditional staple for many international diets. It’s found in Desi, East African and Middle Eastern cuisines, just to name a few. The many names for flatbread spanning across cultures is testimony to its popularity. In Somali, it’s called sabaayad, and in other cultures it’s called chapati, roti, Iraqi khubz and so many more!

Every culture prepares its flatbread slightly differently, creating varying textures and tastes. Something as simple as adding a pinch of salt can change the entire taste of this hearty carbohydrate. Today, I’ll be giving you a peek into the Somali version of this amazing flatbread, with my hooyo’s (mom’s) delicious recipe.


  • 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp of instant yeast
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅛ tsp or just a ‘pinch’ of salt
  • 2 Eggs, optional


  • In a bowl, warm the milk in the microwave, then set aside.
  • Combine the yeast, salt and flour in a medium bowl and whisk together, adding eggs if desired. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend using eggs because they give the sabaayad a dense texture.
  • Pour in the warm milk and knead the dough until it becomes a smooth ball. Add a little bit of water as you go if the milk isn’t enough to create your desired consistency.
  • Set the dough aside for 30 minutes to allow it to proof (rise).
  • Divide the dough into eight to ten even pieces. Spread the dough onto a thin sheet, add the oil and fold to create layers.
  • Spread the layered dough again and get it on an oiled skillet. Flip the bread several times while frying until the bread is golden brown on both sides.

This delicious traditional Somali flatbread can be served with suqaar (a soup with meat, spices and vegetables) or even drizzled with honey, among other preparations — just ask your Somali friends for more recommendations!