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Manakeesh - Special dish in Middle Eastern cuisine

October 2nd, 2023

Manakeesh is a favorite breakfast dish of the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Israel. In recent years, it has been considered a culinary heritage of the Middle East and quickly became one of the most popular dishes thanks to its taste, cheapness, and simple preparation. In this post, we will introduce you to this dish along with its recipe that you can easily make at home.

What is manakeesh?

Manakeesh is also known as "Manoush", "Manaeesh" and "Manakish". It can be described as a flat baked dough with toppings, quite similar to pizza, that's why it's also called  ‘Lebanon Pizza’. The word “manakeesh” comes from the Arabic word "manqushah", which refers to a technique where the dough is pressed with one's fingertips, leaving a decorative pattern on the surface.

A traditional manakeesh

Over time, manakeesh became one of the most important dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine because of its flavor, cheap price, and simple preparation. The toppings may be minced lamb, beef, spinach, vegetables, yogurt, Za’atar, and cheese. However, the most popular topping of manakeesh that the locals often eat is Za’atar. It is a divine combination of thyme, sumac, and sesame seed powder. This is a fairly nutritious manakeesh that is often enjoyed at breakfast or lunch!

The origin of manakeesh

There is not much information about the origin of manakeesh. However, the first known records of the dish are found in the Arabian cookbook which appeared in the 10th century. The cookbook also mentions an original recipe that has only flatbread, thyme, and olive oil in the ingredients.

Manakeesh is made with different topping ingredients.

As can be seen, Manakeesh and its ingredients had already appeared since the earliest times in the Middle Eastern countries. Traditionally, each morning, women would bake dough in a common oven to prepare breakfast for the whole family. They will make different pieces of cake by using different toppings. From here, this recipe evolved into the famous manakeesh.

So how to make a manakeesh?

Step 1:  Prepare the dough for manakeesh

Prepare a large bowl to mix yeast, sugar, and ½ cup of warm water. Note that the water should not be too hot or the yeast won't float. Mix the ingredients together and let sit for about 10 minutes until effervescence.

 A tablespoon of yeast

Add the remaining flour, water, and salt to the yeast that we prepare in the first step. Use a flour mixer, start mixing at low speed, add oil slowly, and increase speed until fully combined. We can also knead the mixture by hand. Wait for about 10 minutes until effervescence.

Prepare the dough

Gently flour the mixture and place the dough into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and put it in a warm area for one hour, until the dough has doubled in size. After about an hour, divide the dough into 12 pieces and continue to cover with a towel, and let it sit for another 30-45 minutes.

Small pieces of dough

Step 2: Prepare toppings for manakeesh

Soak the akawi cheese in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes to remove the salt.

Topping for manakeesh

Minced soaked akawi cheese. Then, mix shredded akawi cheese and shredded mozzarella in a medium-sized bowl. Mixing the za’atar and olive oil in a small bowl to have a good source.

Step 3: Bake the manakeesh

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle a little powder on the tabletop, rolling each dough into pieces of six inches in diameter. Place the rolled flakes on a prepared baking tray. On the manakeesh’s surface sweep the prepared topping and sprinkle cheese on.

Preheating for manakeesh

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until manakeesh has golden brown on the underside. Enjoy while still hot and store in food containers.

A delicious manakeesh

Should you have any questions, wish to share your ideas of the thermos, or request a quotation, please send us an email to: export@rangdong.com.vn. 

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