Manakeesh (Arabic: مناقيش), also known as Manaeesh, Manaqish, or in its singular form manousheh, is a delicious and popular dish that originates from the Middle East. This traditional food consists of dough that is topped with various ingredients such as wild thyme, cheese, or ground meat. Often compared to a pizza, Manakeesh offers a unique and flavourful culinary experience.
The dough used for Manakeesh is typically made from a combination of flour, water, yeast, and olive oil. It is then rolled out into a thin circle or oval shape and topped with the desired ingredients. The most common topping for Manakeesh is a mixture of za’atar, a blend of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and olive oil. This gives the dish a distinctive and aromatic flavour.
Manakeesh can also be topped with other ingredients like akkawi cheese, a white brined cheese, or ground meat such as minced lamb or beef. The meat is often mixed with spices and herbs, adding a savoury and hearty element to the dish. Some variations even include a combination of different toppings, allowing for a wide range of flavours and textures.
Traditionally, Manakeesh is baked in a hot oven until the dough is crispy and golden. It can be served as a main course or enjoyed as a snack throughout the day. In many Middle Eastern countries, it is a popular choice for breakfast, where it is often accompanied by a cup of tea or yogurt.
The versatility of Manakeesh makes it a beloved dish across the region. It can be sliced into triangular or square pieces, or even folded like a sandwich. It is often enjoyed with a side of fresh vegetables, olives, or pickles, adding freshness and crunch to each bite.
In recent years, Manakeesh has gained popularity beyond its place of origin and can now be found in many international cities. Its unique combination of flavours and textures, along with its simplicity and convenience, have made it a favourite among food enthusiasts around the world.
Whether you’re a fan of the fragrant and zesty za’atar, the creamy and salty cheese, or the savoury and flavourful meat toppings, Manakeesh offers a culinary adventure that is both satisfying and delicious. So, next time you’re in the mood for a taste of the Middle East, give Manakeesh a try and experience the rich and diverse flavours of this delightful dish.