If the Italians can claim the pizza, the Lebanese can claim a similar concoction: the Man’oucheh. Typically eaten for breakfast, but if made in mini it can be used as an appetizer or as party finger food.
The Man’oucheh is made in special bakeries where it is prepared for the customer in a matter of minutes, while they can watch the process. Usually the baker has the fillings and the dough ready: he kneads it, shapes it, fills it and cooks it. It is typically cooked on high heat, in an iron or stainless steel oven. The more traditional way is to make it on a “Saj” which is a special “grill” to make bread or dough based food.
The Man’oucheh comes in different flavors too. Although it is usually one topping, there are so many varieties that you will never be bored with it. The most common ones are Zaatar, cheese, Kishk (A powder made of yogurt and bulgur, to cut a long story short) or meat. Sometimes even a mix of Zaatar and cheese, or a half of each.
It can also be served with a side of veggies like tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, onions or whatever tickles your fancy.
For one large:
- Pizza Dough (recipe here)
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 3/4 cup Zaatar
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Mix the olive oil and the zaatar (and eventually some salt if need be) to get a pasty combination. Add more oil if you need to. The consistency should be similar to yogurt’s.
- Fill 2/3 of the crust with the mixture.
- Fill the rest with cheese, making sure to be very generous (hence why I did not specify the amount). You want a thick layer.
- Overlap the cheese with the 1/3 covered with Zaatar to get the mixed part.
- Bake in a 450˚F (232˚C) oven for 12 minutes or till crust is cooked and golden.