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The tradition of Manakish Bread, Lebanon | by Johanna Mifsud photography
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The tradition of Manakish Bread, Lebanon

During break at the University in Beirut, some of us would hurry to the nearest baker and order a man'oush each with the topping of their choice. The baker would wrap them individually in white paper and we would eat them on the way back to class. My favourite has to be the cheese topping. The baker would ask me how much cheese I wanted to which I would reply 'medium'.

    

Manakish. Alternative name(s) Manaqish, manaeesh, manakeesh, man'ousheh

 

Manakish is a Flatbread whose main ingredient(s) are dough, thyme, cheese or ground meat

Za'atar bread

 

Manakish, also manaqish, manaeesh or manakeesh or in singular form man'ousheh (Arabic: مناقيش‎ manāqīsh; sometimes called معجنات mu‘ajjanāt 'pastry') is a popular Levantine food consisting of dough topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat. Similar to a pizza, it can be sliced or folded, and it can either be served for breakfast or lunch. The word manaqish is the plural of the Arabic word manqūshah (from the root verb naqasha 'to sculpt, carve out'), meaning that after the dough has been rolled flat, it is pressed by the fingertips to create little dips for the topping to lie in.

 

Traditionally, Levantine women would bake dough in a communal oven in the morning, to provide their family with their daily bread needs, and would prepare smaller portions of dough with different toppings for breakfast at this time.

 

Classic toppings include :

 

Dried Thyme (Zaatar) (Arabic: زعتر, za'tar, manaqish bi'l za'tar). The most popular form of manakish uses zaatar as a topping. The zaatar is mixed with olive oil and spread onto the bread before baking it in the oven. It is a favourite breakfast preparation in Levantine cuisine. It is served by Lebanese cooks as part of a mezze, or as a snack with a glass of mint tea.

 

Cheese (Arabic: جبنة, jubnah). There are two main types of cheese manakish: ‘Akkāwī (Arabic: عكاوي), and Kashqwān (Arabic: قشقوان). People usually mix cheese with zaatar, chicken, or meat when baking manakish to give it a better taste.

 

Minced lamb (Arabic: لحم بعجين, lāḥm bi-‘ajīn, "meat with dough", sfiha). Other manakish are served for lunch because of their heavier contents. This popular manakish has lamb topping. The minced lamb is mixed with tiny pieces of diced tomato and vegetable oil, and this manakish is optionally served with ground pepper or pickles and yogurt.

 

Chili (Arabic: فليفلة‎ or فلفل حر

Kishq (Arabic: كشك‎).

Spinach (Arabic: سبانخ‎), Swiss Chard (Arabic: سلق‎).

 

Source : Wikipedia

 

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Taken on November 21, 2008