Manakeesh, Manaeesh, Manaqish

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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.

Classic toppings

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.

Fancy toppings

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.

Posted in Lebanese Mediterranean restaurant and arabic food San Diego, Specialties.