Sabaayad (Somali Flatbread)

Sabaayad is similar to the Indian paratha. This is versatile bread that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just by itself. For breakfast it is eaten with muqmad (dried camel or beef jerky) or fried eggs and a cup of tea. For lunch or dinner it can be accompanied by beef, chicken or vegetable curries.  My favourite way to eat it is to drizzle some honey on the sabaayad.

My grandmother used to say that you would know a good cook by the flakiness of their sabayaad. Well, here is how you can make yours as flaky as my granny would want it!

You can use all purpose white flour, but this results in a chewy sabaayad. I prefer adding in wholemeal wheat flour which makes the sabaayad soft.

To make a circular shaped sabaayad, use your hands to roll the circle from one end to form a cigar like roll. Hold one end and roll into a snake like coil and tuck the end in. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a thin circle.

My grandmother rolled the dough twice applying oil with each roll. She said this makes the sabaayad extra flaky and I have to agree that this process does make for a super flaky bread.

To make the sabaayad extra flaky roll the dough slightly after spreading the first tablespoonful of oil into a circle or a square. Roll it out again into a bigger circle or square ready for cooking.

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Sabaayad (Somali Flatbread)

Recipe by:


2 cups of all purpose white flour
I cup of wholemeal wheat flour (called atta in Indian grocery stores)
2 tablespoonfuls of oil (use ghee or as we call it subag which you can get in Indian or Somali grocery shops)
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of water or enough to mix for a firm and elastic dough
½ cup of oil for cooking
½ cup of floor for keeping the dough smooth when rolling


1. Mix all the flour together with the salt. Add the oil and mix in thoroughly. Add in the water slowly as you knead the dough. When you are satisfied that you have a firm and elastic dough you know you’ve got it right. Let the dough rest for about half an hour.
2. Cut the dough into eight equal portions. Roll out each portion into a circle. Spread one teaspoon of oil and rub it gently all over the surface of the dough. To make the sabaayad square shaped, use a rolling pin to roll the circle and fold it into a square. This will allow you to achieve a square shape when you roll the dough. If the dough is sticky pat it with some flour.
3. Heat up a frying pan or griddle on the stove. When hot place the thinly rolled dough and let it cook for a minute or so. Once it starts to puff up flip the sabaayad and immediately spread a teaspoon of oil on top. Use a spatula to press down the bread all around. This makes it puff up more evenly. Flip and cook on the other side.
4. Remove from the heat and place on a plate. To show off the flakiness of the bread my grandmother used to gently smash the sabaayad from two ends before wrapping it up in a cloth to keep it warm. Serve while hot.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 - 8 people

10 Responses to “Sabaayad (Somali Flatbread)”

  1. Amedi

    Yummy! This is certainly a mouth-watering bread. I can even smell it.

  2. The Somali kitchen

    Hi Amedi, thanks for your comment. Make the bread and that smell will be real!

  3. imusa

    this is the best food even though i didnt use your recipe

  4. Hannah

    Thanks so much for the recipe! my hoyo been back home for a couple of months so im really missing these for breakfast! Definitely trying this recipe in the morning! Wish me luck! Lol

    • Somali Kitchen

      Good luck, Hannah! Let us know how it turns out. They take a bit of practice so don’t give up! I remember my very first attempt ended up in rock hard sabaayad as I overcooked them, but now it’s a different story!!

  5. Fatima

    Can you please show us how to make Muffo? I don’t even know if I spelled it right.


  6. Naima.

    Will try this for iftaar thanks!


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