This recipe is courtesy of Dina’s Kitchen
For International Zaatar Day on 23rd September I am sharing with you the story of a dear person to me, and his recipe of Man’oushe. Both story and recipe are from my Cookbook “The Taste of Marjeyoun” . Book is currently out of print. Working on a new edition.
Man’oushe is to the Lebanese what Brezel to the Germans or Pizza to the Italians is. This special Lebanese pizza topped with a sour and nutty flavoured zaatar (thyme) and olive oil mixture should be on your culinary tour list whenever on a visit to Lebanon. It is the go to food when hunger strikes, morning, noon or night; just head to the nearest bakery to order a traditional zaatar man’oushe or one of the other equally delicious variations.
Man’oushet Abou Kamel, meaning Abou Kamel’s Man’oushe, was prepared by Abou Kamel, our long time concierge in Beirut. He was an old and friendly man who came to Lebanon as a Palestinian refugee in 1948. Eventually he landed the job as the caretaker of one of the newest high-rise buildings in Beirut. For almost 50 years he lived on and took care of the grounds and the tenants as if it all belonged to him. After his retirement in 2007, at about 75-80 years of age, Abou Kamel went back to a refugee camp in Sidon.
What remain of Abou Kamel are his unforgettable toothless smile and his succulent Manou’she. His mixture of zaatar, olive oil, onions, tomatoes, pomegranate syrup and chilli pepper made our Sundays very special. I don’t remember when he started to spoil us, but that became a ritual that lasted for many years up to the summers I came to Lebanon with my family. He insisted on taking care of our Sunday breakfasts and introduced my children to the tastiest and juiciest Manou’she ever!