The United Arab Emirates – Manakish

by Adelina Aida

This is a dish which is also known as ARABIAN PIZZA. It is not a type of pizza or inspired by pizza which is totally different in taste and ingredients but the only resemblance is the appearance of Manakish. Manakish is an Arabian dish, which is a flattened dough served with Arabian toppings like Thyme, Oregano, Paprika, Cheese, and any meat mince. This is usually made in a circular shape like pizza so it resembles that dish. It also is served in different shapes like triangular, square, etc.


This dish is a very popular dish in the middle east. As the special Arabic dish, this dish is eaten in Dubai, Saudia Arabia, Lebanese, Syria, Egypt, etc. Its place of origin is ”LEVANT”. It is a very famous Levantine dish.

LEVANT, is a large area of Eastern mediterraen. It has the following beautiful countries :

  1. Syria
  2. Lebanon
  3. Jordan
  4. Israel
  5. Palastine
  6. Turkey
  7. lybia, etc

This is a dish which can be served as snack, lunch/ dinner, supper, hi-tea, etc. This dish has all the nutritional aspects to accomplish all the body’s requirements like carbohydrates, protien, fats, fiber and healthy dried spices for the taste and aroma.


The name of this dish is from the special feature of making this dish. The word Manakish or Manaquish is taken from Arabic word Manqushah.

MANQUSHAH is a word that is formed by NAQUSH means to crave out.

So the technique from making this dish is actually when the dough is made and flattened. Some grooves and depression are made on the dough to add toppings that would stay over the dough because this dish has not any sauce or something to stick the toppings with the dough. Fingertips, fork holes some cuts are made, and then toppings would set over the rolled dough.


There are many traditional special toppings of Arabic origin which is used to make this Manakish dish. This dish is so basic that after so many years of origin. This dish has not changed any of the ingredients in this dish and made as it was from the origin. Following are the toppings of Manakish :


Za’atar is a word that literary means THYME. But in this dish, manakish za’atar means to have different dried herbs which have thyme, oregano, dried garlic powder, Sumac, marjoram, sesame seeds, etc.

SUMAC is a species of flower that has a very mild aroma and the color is very vibrant even use in tanning and dye. These flowers are dried out and covert into a fine powder of dark pink reddish color. This is sold as a spice or herb used in many dishes in the Middle East. The very famous dish of the Middle east formed from Sumac is Pink Lemonade.

THYME is also very aromatic and strong flavored herb is used in making this dish topping.

OREGANO is a flower of mint family which is dried and used as herb to give amazing aroma and flavor to this dish.

MARJORUM is a plant that have leaves and these leaves can be used fresh or dry.

Meat varieties

Meat is added as a topping in this dish but in ground form. Like chicken mince, lamb mince, beef mince are added. In Arabian dishes, the popular meat to be added to any dish is LAMB. Lamb is the favorite meat that is used in almost every dish of Arabic origin.

Lamb meat is cooked in some mild spices and tomatoes with vegetable oil. This is tendered and very juicy. Sometimes, vegetables like onions, capsicums, peas also are added but usually, simple lamb meat is cooked and the topping is made on the dough.

Lahm-bi-ajin is a similar dish which is small cookies having lamb mince topped with.


There are two special type of cheese is used in mamakish are the following :

1.Akkawi cheese

Akkawi cheese is made up from the Goat’s milk that is also known as white brine cheese. This is very famous in Israel.

2.Kashkaval cheese

This cheese is made from cow’s milk. It is dark in color also known as Orange cheese.


Kashk is very popular thick yogurt. It is Iranian dried yogurt which is used in topping of this dish. When milk is soured, let it to be dry and then formed a thick paste or different shapes can be made.


Not usually but sometimes vegetables are added on Manakish like :

  1. Spinach
  2. carrots
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Peas
  5. Corn, etc.

Course : main course / snack / breakfast

Cuisine : Arab cuisine / Emirati cuisine

Servings : 4 to 5 person

Time of cooking : 30 minutes

Temperature of serving : hot

Calories : 280 kcalories

Taste : mild salty and aromatic



  1. Wheat flour 1 cup
  2. Yest 1 tablespoon
  3. Yogurt 2 tablespoons
  4. Sugar 2 tablespoons
  5. Salt a pinch
  6. Oil 2 tablespoons
  7. Luke warm water for kneading


  1. Lamb 250 grams
  2. Oil 2 tablespoons
  3. Tomato puree 1 cup
  4. Thyme 1 teaspoon
  5. Salt 1 teaspoon
  6. Basil leaves few
  7. Crushed red chilies 1 teaspoon

Other topping

  1. Cheese 1 cup
  2. Thyme 1 teaspoon
  3. Oregano 1 teaspoon
  4. Marjoram 1/2 teaspoon
  5. Sesame seeds 2 tablespoon


  • We have three elements to make, first of all is dough becsue it has to rise and then toppings would made on this.
  • Add flour, yeast, sugar, salt, yogurt, oil into a bowl and make it assemble.
  • Then knead it with warm water to activate the yeast.
  • Make a tigh dough and let it rest for 20 minutes until it double in size.
  • Now its time to make mince topping, add oil with chopped onions into a cooking pan.
  • Stir it little and add mince with all the spices and make it simmer unless the juices of meat releases.
  • When water is dried on high flame, add 2 cups of water and let it cook on medium heat for the meat to cook properly and tendered.
  • Then after 15 minutes, when water is vanished set the meat aised and let it cool down.
  • Now its time to check dough is rise, flatened the dough and all mince topping with cheese.
  • Spread the meat on the dough covered it with cheese and add all the dried herb to be on the top of first layer.
  • Pre heat the oven to 320 degree and then cook it on that for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Serve hot : )
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