Monday, February 2, 2015

Jordanian Matabaqa (Layered Onion Bread) for Feb. SRC

The Secret Recipe Club is a fun group of bloggers.   We're divided into groups, and each month we're assigned a blog to find and make a recipe from.  We then blog about it. And share of course, and then get to see what kinds of recipes other people found on your blog and made.   I was in group B before and got some great recipes and now I'm in Group A and looking forward to many culinary adventures.

This is my first month posting in Group A for the Secret Recipe Club and I got assigned a blog that I'll be watching and making lots of stuff from for a long time to come.

Chef in Disguise was my assigned blog this month for my debut in Group A.  Sawsan is Palestinian and her recipes are authentic, and look so good.   She's now embarked on a new adventure in the United Arab Emirates and I bet she posts lots more recipes from that area.   I had so much fun reading her blog.

And, and, and... she also has a spot on there where I can actually read about some of the specialty ingredients she uses.  A friend introduced me to Za'atar  and Malab a few years ago, and I love it, and now I get to learn about a lot of other ingredients.   

Honestly, I 'pinned' so many recipes to try that I got overwhelmed but I had to narrow it down to just one.

And I did.  Well, just one to post about that is.   I made a couple more and will tell you about them after the 'Reveal'.

I finally decided on this recipe.
Jordanian Matabaqa  (Layered Onion Bread.) 
For a couple of reasons, I love onions, and the technique of making this bread looked like so much fun.  And delicious as well. 
 And ummm, it was.
And, (you think I'm using 'and' too many times here?, too bad),  this reminds me of a laminated dough.   I love playing with laminated dough.
However, I would say to go to her website and look at the video on stretching out the dough.  She made it look so darn easy, but I think Sawsan has had a little bit of practice doing this.

3 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp. Anise Seed (opt.)  I had some, so I used it.
1/2 tsp. Fennel Seed (opt.) again, I had some, so...
1/2 tsp. Nigella Seed (opt.) Nope, didn't have any but it's on my shopping list.
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups water.

Mix together into a soft dough and knead for at least ten minutes.  I used my stand mixer to put it together and then kneaded it for a couple more minutes.  Form into four balls, drizzle with olive oil, and set aside to rest for an hour.  Very important as this lets the gluten start to form  a little, and also relaxes the dough.

In the meantime...
Make the filling.

4 cups chopped onion
1/2-1 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. allspice

Heat the olive oil, then add the onions and spices and saute just until the onions are translucent.   Set aside to cool.   Drain the onions, reserving the oil.  I ended up with extra oil, but I saved it.

Drizzle a little of the reserved oil out on your board. 
Take the dough balls and spread out gently and slowly, using just a little pressure.  It actually spreads quite nicely.  Stretch it out until it becomes very thin.   Then take some of the onions, sprinkle over the dough and then fold it into thirds, spreading onions on each side. 
Next up, put that little dough ball aside, let it rest.  Just for a minute or so.

Next up, take the second ball of dough, stretch it out thinly.   Sprinkle with onions,  and place the first ball in the middle.
This is very similar to a detremp.   Take the sheet of dough, and fold it over the ball, one side at a time, spreading the chopped onions on the dough at the same time.    In thirds that is. 

Finish by folding the last side over, then place on a greased baking sheet.  Let it sit while the oven heats up to 380 degrees.
I actually made two batches of this, the flavour was incredible.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  I think I might have baked it a little longer as I was trying to get a nice brown on the top.  
The first batch I actually flattened out quite a bit after it had rested on the baking sheet, and I baked it according to Sawsan's instructions, but I think that the temp was little too low, I didn't get a nice crispy top.  So, I upped the temp to 425 degrees, and baked it a little longer. 
That was the first attempt.   I cut it into squares and treated them like a cracker.  Unfortunately, the picture I took of them on the plate was too blurry to use. 
The next day I decided to try it again, as I just couldn't seem to replicate the browned, flaky look of the bread that was in her pictures.    I didn't stretch out the next batch, and baked it for a lot longer than her suggested 20 minutes.
And I have to say the second batch, while it tasted wonderful, was kind of gummy in the middle.  And I think that was totally my fault.   But I'll eat it anyway.

However, the first batch, that I kinda made into a cracker type bread, disappeared in short order when I brought it to NPA.  The ladies loved it.
And so did I.  
Right now, I'm headed down to the kitchen to make some Seeded Crackers that I found on Sawsan's blog, I think they will be a fun take along to the Super Bowl party we're attending on Sunday.  

Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.


  1. Lovely! This looks so tasty and I adore all the layers. :)

    1. It is/was tasty and I will be making it again, and judging by the response I got from my friends (they ate most of it), it is a keeper.

  2. The flavours sound wonderful - great choice and welcome to Group A!

    1. I loved the flavours in this, and thank you for the welcome, I can't wait to explore my next assignment.

  3. Welcome to Group A. I love your pick for this month. I love onions too and this recipe sounds very interesting. I will have to try this one out soon.

    1. Thank you, very glad to be here. And I love being able to explore new blogs and challenge myself with new recipes and techniques.

  4. I just made the move from B to A as well :)

    1. We're going to have such fun with all the new blogs to explore and make food from.


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