When I was little and I lived in Montreal, my family would always stop by a Lebanese bakery to pick up some manoucheh and some spinach fatayer (little spinach pies). I hated both as a child. I feel terrible about it now. I had this amazing food at arm’s reach and I snubbed it. After having finally developed a taste for some amazing food, I found out I could no longer eat gluten.
I am now left with two options: I can forget about manoucheh, or I can make my own. As it turns out, it’s a lot more difficult to unglutenize some recipes than I had anticipated. My manoucheh (if I can even call it that) didn’t turn out quite right. I know I made a few mistakes, but I don’t think fixing those mistakes would quite give me traditional manoucheh. For one, because I was multitasking, I forgot to add a bit of oil to the dough. I know I also didn’t roll out the dough thin enough. I definitely thought I had rolled it out thinner.
This is where your suggestions come in! Have you ever had or made manoucheh? Can you offer some ideas to make these closer to the authentic thing? I’m talking air bubbles and all. If I manage to improve this recipe, I’ll post updates.
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tbsp xanthan gum
1 cup warm water (not hot)
1 package traditional yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tbsp olive oil
Zaatar mix – I used about 2-3 tbsp (You can find this at Middle Eastern stores or find a recipe online)
Olive oil – just enough to make a spreadable paste
Combine the warm water and the yeast. I do this in the measuring cup. Proof the yeast. If you’ve never used yeast before, you just need to let it sit in the water until it foams at the top. This can take 10-15 minutes. If it doesn’t end up foaming, the yeast is probably dead and won’t work.
In the meantime, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. When the yeast is done proofing, add the liquids and mix well. I did this by hand. Form into a big ball in the bowl. Cover with a warm towel and let the yeast rise for about an hour. To quicken the process, place this in the warmest part of your house.
When the yeast is done rising, preheat the oven to 400F. Roll out the dough really thin. Seriously, really thin. I did this on my stoneware pan. I love my stoneware. Bake for ten minutes.
While it’s baking, mix some zaatar and olive oil. When you take the manoucheh out of the oven, spread the zaatar on top. I turned the dough over before putting zaatar because the bottom looked better.
Enjoy while it’s hot! And while you do that, reflect on how to improve the recipe. When your belly is full, send me your suggestions.