A Lebanese Breakfast
5965 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA, 92115
I remember breakfasts of Labneh, Zaatar, mint, tomato and cucumber with fresh, paper thin markouk bread. On weekends, when time was a luxury we could afford, it would be kishk and qawarma hiding full cloves of garlic in creamy whiteness speckled with shallow fried pine nuts. We burnt our tongues in impatience and never learned to wait. Eggs with sumac were fluffy and crunchy, slowly fried with olive oil in pottery and devoured within seconds with farm fresh home made goat’s milk yoghurt. Every once in a while, mom would send dad down to the baker’s with a variety of containers to be made into Lebanese pizzas and pies. The one for manakish would be full of her special zaatar mix – hand picked mountain thyme, dried and mixed with freshly roasted sesame seeds, sumac and of course, olive oil from our decades old olive grove. Another would have spinach and wild silver beet mixed with onions and used to fill the triangular Fattayer b’Sbenekh w Selek. Then there was Lahm b’Ajeen, mutton and beef mince mixed with onions, tomatoes, pine nuts, pomegranate molasses and spices served piping hot on top of the crispy golden brown pastry. A squeeze of lemon juice was all it needed to become the perfect meat pie. Let’s not get into an argument here.
Dad would drive on missions in search of the freshest produce. On his way back home, he would beep the horn, sending a special message that got us on to our feet and out to greet him. The three boys would help dad carry boxes full of the freshest produce upstairs where mom would complain. On a good day. electricity was only available for two or three hours if we were lucky, and that meant that produce needed to be bought and consumed very quickly. But Dad had a problem. Buying a kilo or less of anything was a strange concept he never embraced; and so mom got busy cooking three or four meals at a time, preserving what she could and handing out the rest to the neighbours, who were all too keen to repay the favour and offload their own husbands’ overzealous shopping habits, undermining mom’s evacuation efforts.
A Lebanese Breakfast Lebanese Food Uncategorized
5965 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA, 92115
Manakeesh, Manaeesh, Manaqish or in singular form manousheh
(Arabic: مناقيش manāqīsh; sometimes called معجنات mu‘ajjanāt ‘pastry’) is a popular food consisting of dough topped with wild 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, Arab 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.
Zaatar (Arabic: زعتر, za’tar, manaqish bi’l za’tar). The most popular form of manakish uses zaatar as a topping. The zaatar (wild thyme) harvest wild dried and is then mixed with Summac, sesame seed (sometimes toasted) and olive oil and spread onto the bread before baking it in the oven. It is a favourite breakfast in Lebanon, and Syria, It is also served by cooks as part of a meza, or as a snack with a glass of mint tea and feta cheese on the side. Popular also in the Arabian Peninsula, it was likely introduced there by Palestinians making the pilgrimage to Mecca
Cheese (Arabic: جبنة, jubnah). Another type has Akawi cheese toppings instead, and it is a bit more expensive than the thyme manakish.
Minced lamb (Arabic: لحم بعجين, laḥm 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.
Manakish can be prepared pizza-style with a variety of fancy toppings. These may include cheese, meat (beef or turkey), mushrooms, labneh, cheese with honey, or chocolate with bananas.