Zaatar bites (Krass zaatar)

dup zaatar bitesI have become quite fond of this Bedouin lady, Nujud, who roams the streets of Beirut with her knapsack hawking her wild herbs; I can hear her from four stories up “khobbeyzeh w zaatar!” she repeats in her direct and farm-like intonation. I hurry down and get some fresh, wild, zaatar; it is growing aplenty now all over the mountains. Oregano, home-grown or store-bought will do (it is closer in taste to wild zaatar than thyme).  These rolls are a classic in mountain villages, especially in the Chouf Mountains where zaatar is abundant.

dup nujud selling zaatar

 The dough in these rolls is mostly semolina, which makes them super crunchy; if you prefer your rolls soft and chewy then switch to mostly flour and a bit of semolina or cornmeal for a tad of crunch.      add the zaatar into the flour mixture   knead briefly   scoop into mini-muffin tins

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups semolina flour (can replace with cornmeal or regular flour)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour (can switch to semolina or cornmeal)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tablespoon instant dry yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water with the sugar

1/4 tsp mahlab (optional)

1 cup olive oil

3 cups (3 ounces) fresh zaatar or oregano, washed and air-dried

1 1/2 cup warm water

1. Place the semolina, flour, salt and mahlab (if using) in a mixing bowl; mix to combine and add the olive oil. Mix to combine then add the zaatar or oregano leaves. Finally, add the proofed yeast and enough warm water to get a moist but compact dough. Leave it to the rest a few hours or overnight. 

2. Scoop out walnut-sized balls of dough and place in mini-muffin tins or on a baking sheet lined with paper. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for about 10 minutes until golden and dry. Cool and serve. Store in a tightly closed box for up to a week.  dup krass zaatar

 

NOTE: These bites are super crunchy; if you would rather eat soft and chewy ones, switch to regular flour and a bit of semolina instead. 

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8 Comments

  1. Sylva
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    These look delicious! You can eat them warm and cold. Thanks Joumana I added this to my favorite things to make along with lots of your stuff. <3

  2. Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Those bites are great! Perfect party food.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    Quelle délicieuse idée; L’idée de ces petites bouchées craquantes et parfumées est proprement insoutenable, Joumana ! ;o)
    Bises
    hélène

  4. Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Your recipes are always inspiring especially for moustequiin or middle east lovers like me! ciao!

  5. Posted February 28, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Just brought back a ton of Zaatar to Italy where I live and other than spreading it on dough and baking it..(like my mom did..or with the triangles) this is a great one to try..thank you

  6. Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Such beautiful looking oregano, I bet these muffins are AWESOME! I think I would stick with the semolina amount you used, crunchy sounds good to me.

  7. Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I have some zaatar in the refrigerator. I think I’ll make some of those.
    AND DIP THEM IN LABNEH WITH OLIVE OIL

  8. Posted March 4, 2014 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    I’m sure you have talked about this herb lady before and I find it fascinating someone like this still exists in parts of the world. Wonderful! And these bites look marvelous, actually and I’ll bet one could vary this basic recipe in so many ways.

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