Manakish the Tasty Breeze of Arab Cuisine

  January 16, 2024   Read time 2 min
Manakish the Tasty Breeze of Arab Cuisine
Manaqish or manakish are savory pastries popular in the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean) region. My mother in law, a master of the Levant kitchen, was the one who first introduced me to the making of za'atar manaqish. They are the perfect make-ahead snack, appetizer, or even brunch!

Manaqish are almost the Middle Eastern equivalent of homemade flatbread pizzas. The word Manaqish is rooted in the Arabic verb naqash, which literally means to sculpt, or carve out. After the dough has been rolled flat, it is pressed by the fingertips to sculpt little dips for the topping to sit in.

Traditionally, manaqish like we have here are made from smaller portions of dough left over from daily baking. Classic manaqish are typically with one of three toppings: minced lamb, cheese, or a mixture of za'atar spice and olive oil.



You should knead the dough quite vigorously for around ten minutes if you are doing it by hand.

Stand mixers will require about 8 minutes and the fastest option is the dough blade on a food processor which only needs 1 minute as it goes really fast.

You are looking for a smooth ball that bounces back when you poke it. If you poke the dough and the indent stays the same you will probably need to knead it a bit more.


Check your yeast isn't out of date. Many people overlook this and can't think why their dough isn't rising properly.

Make sure you haven't killed the yeast by placing it in water that is too hot.

Many people underestimate how lukewarm the water should be. I add ⅕ of boiling water to a cup and the rest cold water from the tap.

It should be only slightly warm but obviously not cold or the yeast won't be activated either.

Also, if you add the yeast directly to salt it will also kill it.


Different types of flour absorb water differently. So if your dough is too wet or dry, add either a little flour or water accordingly.

Don't get too excited and add heaps of flour or too much water. Add a tablespoon of each at a time and knead until you have a smooth texture.

You will know if it is too sticky as it clings to your hands in clumps and if it is too hard to work it is too dry.

If you are using a machine for your dough, you will know when it's ready when it forms a ball. If it is too dry it will be crumbly.

Don't be scared to adjust the dough and use your instinct to know when it's done. You will get better at recognising when the manakish dough is ready by smelling, touching and feeling it

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