Manoushe, manakeesh, manoush, manakish, manaeesh, regardless of how you spell it phonetically it means one thing.
And that one thing is the most delicious flatbread you have ever tasted.
When made well this is a lovely food that really has no comparison.
Za’atar, which is the prepared herb topping on Manoushe, is unique in its flavor.
Za’atar is a herb grown extensively in the Mediterranean region and is commonly referred to as a form of thyme.
However the actual plant looks more like oregano, and has a flavor combination of thyme, oregano and marjoram.
The prepared form of za’atar is generally a combination of the zaatar plant, sumac, salt and sesame seeds.
Traditionally a common way to eat it is to dip bread in olive oil and then dip it into the zaatar mixture which sticks to the oil on the bread.
It is absolutely delicious.
There are as many ways to make za’atar as there are people making it.
Everyone has a favorite way of making it, with different ingredient additions that suit their individual tastes.
I make mine in the purest form as I described above.
In the Jordan Valley, we have a little place down that is our retreat from the city.
We usually go on a Friday which is a day off here.
Down there, we keep chickens and have a bunch of stuff planted for fresh vegetables.
One of the things we have planted is za’atar.
I pick it, dry the leaves, and grind them to a powder, add the other ingredients and make my very own za’atar.
Needless to say I love it.
We generally go down to the valley early in the morning, picking up fresh bread from the bakery on the way.
The road down is quite beautiful if a bit harrowing at stages.
The road winds around the hills as it twists and turns taking you ever lower below sea level.
Much of the road is just two lanes, one coming and one going.
On the way back up we are often behind the very slow moving trucks carrying produce up to the capital Amman.
We wait and bide our time as we take the blind corners waiting for an opening to pass the painfully slow trucks.
Some drivers are considerate and move to the shoulder (when there is one) and allow us to pass.
Others not so much.
Then there are all the yahoos who have a death wish that pass on blind corners and travel at high speed.
You just have to let them go, so that you can get to your destination in one piece.
When we arrive at our place in the valley we collect fresh eggs and make breakfast.
Tradition has my dad doing the cooking.
Eggs with parsley and onions, which he smothers in fresh ground garlic on his plate.
Lamb sausages, and hummus from Abu Jbara (best hummus in the world!) completes the breakfast.
All eaten with the freshest of fresh Arabic pita bread.
I think that once you make a manoushe you will be a lifelong fan of this delightful flatbread.
Invite family and friends over for a treat.
Homemade appetizers like no other.
They will be grateful.
That is if you want to share once you’ve had a taste.
Manakish (Za'atar Flatbread)
- 3 tbsp Zaatar
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil more if needed
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Mix flour, salt and yeast in a bowl.
- Make a well in the mixture.
- Add the olive oil and water.
- Mix using your hand until the dough comes together.
- Once the dough is formed, knead for ten minutes.
- Cover and set aside for 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
- Pour dough out on floured surface and cut into four pieces.
- Roll out each piece dough you will be using, place on parchment paper on a tray. The other pieces of dough can be refrigerated or frozen.
- Put Zaatar in a small bowl.
- Stir in olive oil until you have a spreadable consistency.
- Spread the Zaatar mixture on the dough with edges exposed.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until flatbread reaches your desired doneness.
Nutrition Per Serving