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 manouche. 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
- 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.
- In a bowl, mix well all the ingredients of the filling.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do the same process with all the dough balls.