Mini zaatar mana-eesh is a staple at street fairs in the Middle East and a crispy, delicious treat like you’ve never experienced before. These little morsels sprinkled with tangy za’atar herb can be served warm or cold – they’re super delicious either way. They’re also a little different from the traditional mana-eesh pizzas but remarkably easy to make at home.
The homemade fried dough is so simple to prepare. This is my mother-in-law’s traditional dough recipe that she has been making for decades. The dough is soft and flexible and rolls out beautifully. Having said that, you can also use store-bought pizza dough.
As you might already know, I love playing with flavours and adding my twist to more traditional recipes. I’ll often end up creating a new variation for a recipe just because I was thinking of how I could substitute certain ingredients. That’s how the manoushi topping combinations came about.
In the bowl of your stand up mixer or a large bowl, if you are kneading by hand, add the lukewarm water and yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes until frothy, then stir to combine.
Add the flour, yogurt, salt, and olive oil, and with the hook attachment, start to combine at low speed, adding lukewarm water as required (approximately ¾ – 1 cup of lukewarm water). Raise to medium speed and continue kneading for approximately 5 minutes or until you have a smooth elastic dough (you may need to scrape the hook halfway through kneading).
Cut the dough into 8 even pieces. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to an hour.
Sprinkle the bench with a little flour before rolling out each round to prevent it from sticking. Roll out each portion into approximately ½ cm in thickness. Using a round cutter, cut into the desired size. With a fork, prick each dough all over. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.
If you are planning on freezing these, skip this step 4. (See notes from Rouba.) In a frying pan, add enough vegetable oil to cover the dough rounds. Turn on medium heat and fry the dough until golden in colour. Turn over and fry for another minute or so. Place them on a paper towel and sprinkle with za’atar herb immediately.