New Manouche Discovery: Inspiration From Tradition

Manouche is by far the most popular breakfast in Lebanon. It is a pita covered, most commonly, with wild thyme or cheese and you can add tomatoes, olives, cucumber and fresh mint to it . Wherever you go, in every corner of any city, town or village, you will be dragged by the rich and warm smell coming from a small ‘forn’, the birth place of the Experimental Lebanese Pitamanouche. The forn, which literally means oven, is an old traditional concept where the baker opens the doors as early as 5 am to serve the needs and desires of early workers. Most of the forns will still be open till late at night or even 24/7. So the manouche is not only a breakfast, but a fast, traditional and cheap snack that one can grab at any time. Inspired from this delicious and easily prepared pita, we went into a series of experiments in our kitchen, where we tried to find a fresh alternative combination that includes local vegetables. So we came up with this recipe, which we would like to share with you, hoping to pass on a taste of tradition with a spirit of food action. Enjoy!

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast (dry, instant)
  • a pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup fresh, coarsely chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup thinly chopped radishes (about 10 heads, the typical cherry belle variety)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 4)
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Pour the yeast in the lukewarm water and dissolve it by stirring with a fork. Add a pinch of salt and mix gradually the flour in the water. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s elastic. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix well all the ingredients of the filling.
  3. When the dough has risen, divide it in 6 parts (small balls of 5 cm diameter). With a roller pin, flatten a ball into about 1 to 2 mm of thickness and 20 cm of diameter.
  4. Place it in a frying pan (without oil!!) on medium fire. When one side is slightly brown, turn it and spread the filling all over. When the other side is brown (it should stay a bit soft, and not totally crunchy), take it out and serve. You could fold it for more practical eating.
  5. Do the same process with all the dough balls.

Experimental Lebanese Pita
TIPS: you can serve it with olives and tea. And you can experiment yourself with local, seasonal fresh ingredient, that way you will cross traditions in one small delicious pita!

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