Za'atar flatbread (Mana'eesh)
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Bread is at the core of Syrian food and culture. Every morning bakeries light up their ovens, as early as 3 AM, and by early morning, the smell of baked bread is irresistible, with or without za'atar. Bread is an integral part of Syrian culture, and there are numerous varieties of bread available. The earliest recorded history of bread making in Syria dates back to the 8th century BC, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river at Tel Mureybat.
Today the tradition continues, but like this variation adapted to the busier lifestyle, the bread is made on quick baking puff pastry. The bread is flakier and more delicate. The za'atar does its magic, adding subtle flavours and notes. The fresh mint and tomatoes add the final finishing touches to the bread making it a delight.
I have been growing fascinated with Syrian cuisine, and have been slowly adding cookbooks to my library. Our Syria is one of those beautiful cookbooks that immerses you in a new world of exquisite cuisine and a beautiful culture. The recipes are simple but always turn out gorgeous and fabulous. The authors travelled back to households in Syria to assemble these recipes, learning from home cooks and local chefs. The book is as much a cultural journey through Syria as a cookbook, filled with anecdotes and history.
For more recipes from this book, click here.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons za'atar mix, commercial variety ok
1/2-1 tomato, finely diced
Mint, torn roughly
Preheat the oven to 375°F or as described by the puff pastry manufacturer.
Roll out the thawed puff pastry to half its width. Scatter some all-purpose flour lightly to prevent the pastry from sticking to the rolling pin.
Mix the olive oil and za'atar. Layer it on the rolled-out puff pastry.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or as described by the manufacturer of the puff pastry.
Serve hot scattered with fresh tomatoes and mint leaves.