Usually, I fall back on a plate of Italian food when I’m in dire need of some soul comforting. But, the Manakish Za’atar is such a trip down memory lane, that I crank up excuses to eat it. Here are a few:
“What a Sunny day! That means it’s Manakish Za’atar time.”
“Arham knows a nursery rhyme. Yaay!! Manakish Za’atar time.”
“Hubby said I looked ravishing. It’s Manakish Za’atar time.”
“Hubby said I looked dull. I need Manakish Za’atar.”
“Arham broke my Perfume bottle. The pain needs to be eased, Manakish Za’atar time.”
“Such a Gloomy weather. Manakish Za’atar will lift my spirits up.”
Uhhmm.. Well, it’s just the way I am.
The first bite I take, always transports me back in time, when I’m 5 or 6 and I’m near the Al-Khobar Corniche. While the other children are going crazy on the playground, I’m staring.
Staring at the water, thinking of the marine life just a few feet away from me, looking at the bright orange floating buoy& gazing at the strip of lights that are shining brightly in Baharain. I’m thinking how Al-Khobar looks to those people staring back from the little country of Baharain.
And while I’m doing that, I’m mindlessly eating a Manakish Za’atar and living this moment for years to come. And just like that, Manakish Za’atar has become a part of a beautiful childhood memory & in a way, part of me.
Though this is just a mezzeh, it’s a complete meal for me. I need nothing more than a Manakish to feel full.
I, source my Za’atar from Saudi Arabia. Usually papa cargoes about 2 or 3 kgs every 3 months. Yes! I use a lot of it in my diet.
What is Za’atar & can I make it at home?
Za’atar is just one of the most essential ingredients in a middle eastern household. It’s used for various things, from being an add on in labneh to being a seasoning on the grilled chicken. But, the most well loved of all is the Manakish. A Manakish is the flat bread on which a careful blend of Za’atar goes on, which is then baked.
Za’atar is a blend of
- Marjoram .
- Sumac spice.
Whether you can make this at home, depends on what you like. When I made it at home, it was disastrous. I vowed to never make it again, because it developed a weird & unpleasant taste. Which was bitter by the way.
So, if you can do it better or have a great recipe (which isn’t from the food websites) for it.. Go ahead or else you’re really better off buying the ready made mix.
Flat Bread Dough:
- 3 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 cups All purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 3 tbsp Ready made Za’atar mix
- 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
- 6 tbsp olive oil
Here is how the Za’atar- Olive oil mix looks like.
- Pre heat oven at 300F for 20 minutes.
- Add the yeast, sugar & water together and let it froth for atleast 15 mins.
- Add this mix to the 3 cups of flour & mix it well, till it becomes a soft dough.
- After that coat the olive oil on the soft dough.
- Make small dough balls & roll it out.
- Add, one tablespoon of the Za’atar mix and put it into your baking tray.
- Bake at 400F for 5 or 8 minutes.
- Your Manakish Za’atar is ready.