I still remember when I was at school in our break time, we used to stand in a very long raw waiting for our turn to get the one and only breakfast option they had at the cafeteria, which was (Manakeesh bil Zaatar) which is the Arabic name for a pastry with olive oil and a thyme mixture topping, it used to be tasty, sour, and filling, I still can remember the lovely taste I used to enjoy with my friends, leaving our hands full of oil and Zaatar (thyme).
We didn’t used to have any access to any kind of junk food that time (fortunately), and Manakeesh bil Zaatar used to recharge our brains with lots of energy required to absorb the tons of information taught to us in the next coming classes.
Zaatar is widely used in the middle eastern food, it is used in main dishes, salads and pastries, whether powder or raw. And the term Zaatar is also the name of the thyme mixture used to make Manakeesh, it consists of powdered thyme, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and some lemon juice.
This combination is usually mixed with olive oil, and used to make sandwiches or pastries in the middle east.
Thyme and your brain
Are you feeling down? You’re not feeling OK? Have a thyme tea with some meditation, and you’ll feel relaxed, thyme contains Apigenin, a compound that improves the connection between brain cells, which fights depression, Alzhiemer disease, Parkinsons’ disease, and improves memory and learning, it simply makes you smarter and more able to use your brain efficiently, and moreover, Apegenin reduces anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed, and promotes sleep.
Thyme and your body
- If your pretty face has been attacked by acne; you should give thyme a try! thyme has an antibacterial properties that might fight acne, and it’s high in antioxidants which gives your skin the freshness that you’re looking for. Apply some thyme extract on acne with a cotton bud carefully after washing your face and hands very well.
- Because thyme is a rich source of Carvacrol, it helps defeat microbes causing sore throat, this compound attacks the microbes directly and can improve your health faster than other medications, so next time you have a sore throat, add some thyme oil to your food, or simply drink thyme tea with honey, it makes you feel better.
- I hate to cough, it wakes me up at night breathless, and I feel like my lungs are going to get out of me! One of the most beneficial remedies to fight cough is thyme oil, it’s powerful in controlling cough, that’s why you find thyme oil as an essential component in cough medication.
- If low blood pressure leaves you mentally and physically exhausted, like what happens to me in extremely hot weather, try to have thyme tea, it increases your blood circulation, improves your blood pressure level, fights fatigue and laziness.
- If you have hypertension, thyme extract also plays an important role in lowering your blood pressure, and lowering your blood cholesterol as well.
- Recent studies have shown that thyme extract has a great effect in fighting cancer, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and blood cancer, it acts directly on the cancer cells themselves due to the presence of Thymol, which kills cancer cells, in the same time, thyme helps you get rid of stress and improves your immunity system, which is also essential in fighting cancer.
- Thyme improves digestion and treat colic, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gases, and soothes the digestive tract.
Manakeesh bil Zaatar Recipe
If you’d like to start your day with a delicious breakfast option with tons of the above mentioned benefits, follow my recipe below for a super Manakeesh bil Zaatar (again a pastry with a mouthwatering blend of olive oil and thyme mixture on the top).
For the dough:
2.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
3 Tbsp olive oil
For the topping:
¼ cup olive oil
5 Tbsp Zaatar mixture, or you can make your own Zaatar mixture:
2 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp sumac
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp lemon juice
- To make the dough, combine the dry ingredients in a big bowl.
- Make a well in the center, and then add water and olive oil and mix well until a dough forms
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it becomes soft and elastic.
- Cover the bowl with a cling film and place it in a warm place for 20 minutes.
- To make the topping; combine Zaatar mixture and olive oil together and mix with a spoon. (If you don’t have a ready Zaatar mixture combine all Zaatar mixture ingredients together and then add olive oil and stir well).
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Take the dough out of the bowl, and on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for another 2 minutes
- Divide the dough into 8 equal balls.
- Flatten each ball of dough with a rolling pin into a circle ½ inch thick and about 6-7 inch in diameter (you can also make them mini pastries, it’s up to you!).
- Cover the dough circles and make them rest for another 10 minutes.
- Transfer the dough circles onto an oiled baking tray.
- Spread the oil and Zaatar mix on the top of each dough circle.
- Place the tray in the oven on the middle rack for 12 minutes, or until the dough is a soft bread.
- Serve hot with a cup of tea with mint.
That’s what happened when I saw thyme in my dream
I thought that thyme has a direct relationship with learning and intelligence only in reality, in the science of biology and food, but what I was amazed about is what happened to me when I saw thyme in one of my dreams, I was preparing for high school and searching for a good school to join that time, one night, I had a dream that I was looking for something in my bedroom, and I opened a big drawer, and found it full of dark green thyme! I woke up wondering what was the interpretation of that dream! 2 days later, I went for an interview at one of the best schools in the city, and when they saw my last year grades, they offered me a scholarship!! I was so happy, and my parents were very proud of me, and at that moment I remembered my thyme dream, and knew what it meant!
Thyme is a super food for your brain and your body in reality and in dreams, make it an addition to your salads and sandwiches, have it as a thyme tea when you decide to relax and have your own space, make it as your holiday breakfast and surprise your family with delicious pastries out of oven, enjoy thyme!
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