Tasty Tuesday

Lebanese Pizza Two Ways

Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 10th November 2015

Jad and Hady Choucair of Mankoushe in East Brunswick are back today, sharing a meal close to both their hearts – traditional Lebanese pizza!

Two of the most popular pizzas at Jad and Hady’s restaurant are their zaatar pizza and minced lamb pizza (which Jad describes as the Lebanese version of a meat pie!). At Mankoushe, these are cooked in a wood fired oven – to get the best results at home, crank your oven up as hot as it will go!

 

One of the things we are best known for at Mankoushe is our traditional Lebanese pizzas. We make our dough from scratch, and cook everything in a our big wood fire oven. We serve our pizzas with many traditional toppings, but two of our most popular options are our zaatar pizza and our minced lamb pizza.

Zaatar is believed to make you smarter if eaten daily. We were encouraged to eat zaatar at least twice daily as kids, and twenty years later we still eat it with as much pleasure! Zaatar is a mix of wild herbs such as oregano, thyme and sumac, blended with good quality olive oil. We use it as spread on sandwiches, to marinade meat, and as a simple and delicious pizza topping. Here at Mankoushe, we make our own zaatar by using wild dried herbs and spices.

Everyone loves a meat pizza. Australians have the meat pie, and we have our own version too. The Ottomans thought they brought this dish to Lebanon until they discovered a little bakery in the south of Lebanon run by a Palestinian and Lebanese family in the early 1900s. Everybody must have a meat pie here at Mankoushe! We use the best cuts of meat to make our own mince with hand ground spices.

Tasty Tuesday shoots are generously supported by The Establishment Studios.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1kg plain flour
  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 40ml sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh yeast
  • 500ml water, approximate

For the zaatar pizza

  • 1/2 bunch of oregano
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme
  • 3 tbsp of sumac
  • 3 tbsp of sesame seeds
  • A few leaves of wild fennel
  • 10 tbsp of good olive oil
  • Mankoushe dough
  • Rocket leaves

For the minced lamb pizza

  • 250g lean mince lamb
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tbsp pimiento pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon (to cut into wedges)
  • Salt to taste

Mankoushe‘s Zaatar pizza, fresh out of the oven. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Method

For the Mankoushe pizza dough

Preheat oven 270°C (if your oven does not reach 270°C, set it to the highest the temperature it goes up to).

On a clean surface (kitchen bench) sprinkle some flour, this ensures your dough won’t stick to the bench. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, then empty out onto your surface and form a well in the middle. Slowly add water to the mix, a little at a time. Knead dough, then add some more water. Generally we would add 400-500ml of water per kilogram of flour, but it is up to the individual how soft they want the dough.

Once you start working the dough it is easy to see when it is ready. The dough won’t be sticky, it will be smooth and and look and feel right. Once you have formed the dough, cover with a cloth or tea towel and put it aside. Let it rest for at least an hour until it starts to rise.

Once dough has risen, cut the dough into your preferred size (we would generally cut 6-8 portions from this amount). Grease a pizza tray with olive oil, and stretch the dough with a rolling pin, we prefer ours to be a little thin so that they are crunchy when they come out of the oven. Once rolled, lay dough flat on the baking tray. Add your desired topping ingredients (two options available below) and bake for 6 minutes at 270°C (or if your oven does not reach 270°C, at the highest possible temperature).

Note: You can add toppings as generously or as little as you prefer. The recipes below are a good amount to cover two pizza bases generously.

For the zaatar topping

Chop all fresh ingredients, then add all ingredients with oil and mix very well. Spread on top of your pizza base and bake for six minutes. Once out of the oven, serve with rocket leaves.

Optional: You can serve this with some labne and olives on the side.

For the minced lamb pizza

Chop onion, tomato, garlic and chilli very finely and add it to mince. Mix. Now add pimiento pepper and salt to your liking and mix very well.

Spread this mince topping onto rolled out pizza dough and bake for 6 minutes.

While pizza is baking, dry fry pine nuts until slightly toasted. When pizza is ready, throw pine nuts on top with some rocket, parsley leaves and wedge of lemon for squeezing.

Mankoushe
323 Lygon St.
Brunswick East
Victoria 3056

Pizza is served at Mankoushe, located at 323 Lygon St, Brunswick. Photo – Eve Wilson.


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