Local Emirati Cuisine: Fresh Thyme Pie

Hotel Burj Al Arab Chef Zakaria El Hamdou says this is easy to make at home and more aromatic if you use local fresh Zaatar – a Middle Eastern spice mixture.


Dough mix
13 oz of strong white flour
5 oz soft cake flour
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of active dried yeast
½ fl oz of olive oil
5 fl oz of lukewarm water

2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
2 small red or green hot peppers very finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh thyme
8 fl oz of freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 fl oz of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of crushed black pepper


Dough mix
Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl, stir in the sugar. It is important to mix the dry ingredients first, dissolve the yeast with the water, set aside for couple of minutes. Pour the yeast water and oil gradually into the flour. Knead the mixture to make soft dough. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

If you are using a food processor, run the machine for 1 minute, add the dry ingredients first, than gradually add the liquid, start at slow speed, and then move up slowly, always stay close to the food processor while is running. Place the dough in large bowl, dusted with extra four to prevent sticking and cover with damp kitchen towel, leave to rise in worm and draft free place for 2 hours.

Punch down the dough, on floured surface, forming a rope shape, then pinch off the dough to form four equal size balls, flour and leave to rise for an additional half hour. Flatten each ball with your palm. Roll out each ball with rolling pin into disk of about 10 inches in diameter and about a quarter inch thick, place on baking pan ready to put the topping on.

In mixing bowl, blend the tomatoes, onion, red or green peppers, fresh thyme, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on the prepared dough.

If using a hot griddle, let the dough form small bubbles before spreading the topping. The time of cooking depends on source of heat; 3 to 5 minutes should be enough.

If using a conventional oven, preheat oven to 400 °F bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.