Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Za'atar Manakeesh with Fresh Tomatoes and Feta

''Manaqish is a Palestinian breakfast specialty that is likely to have come to the Arabian Peninsula with Palestinians who were making the pilgrimage to Mecca. Originally, women baked dough in communal ovens in the morning and prepared smaller portions of dough, which they topped with spices and eggs, so that they wouldn't have to make a separate breakfast.'' says Amy Riolo in her book Arabian Delights: Recipes & Princely Entertaining Ideas from the Arabian Peninsula

Well, I didn't have the faintest idea that I was making some kind of manakeesh until I read this passage. The reason why I ended up with this manakeesh with tomatoes, feta and za'atar is that I didn't have anything else to cook in the fridge. Whatever the reason would be, women have had such a sophisticated mind to come up with practical solutions to hunger-related problems at home. Even when you have only flour, water and salt on hand, the result might be fantastic most of the time only with the sprinkle of some spices

As the garnish this time, I used za'atar that a friend of mine brought from Saudi Arabia and it was such a treat for all of us at home on a Sunday morning to the accompaniment of black tea. I only regret not having been generous while sprinkling of it. Here comes the photo and the recipe.


For the Manakeesh:


500 g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
about 300 ml luke-warm water


1 To make the dough, sift the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl.
2 Make a well in the centre and add in the water and knead till the dough has come together leaving the sides of the bowl clean.
3 Transfer onto a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes till the dough is smooth and elastic.
4 Lightly grease the bowl and transfer the dough into the bowl and cover with cling film and leave it in a warm place till it has doubled in bulk, for about 1 1/2 hours.
5 Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.



1.5 -2 cups feta
1-2 medium ripe tomatoes
olive oil

1.Slice the tomatoes and crush the cheese with a fork.
2. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil.
3. Top the dough with the cheese and tomato slices. Sprinkle with olive oil and za'atar.
4. Bake it until crust is golden brown and crisp at 200C, about 15 to 20 minutes.

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