These herb pies are mainly of spinach, with onion and lemony sumac. An even better version is the baa’leh (purslane) pies, which have a very earthy taste. Or try any kind of dark green leaves or herbs, especially sorrel, which has a pleasing sour taste.
For the dough:
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups (250 g) whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) spinach
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) ground sumac
- 2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil
- Kamal Mouzawak
To make the dough, dissolve the yeast and the sugar in 1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm water (too cold, and the yeast will not be active and rise; too hot, and it will be killed). It should rise and double its amount or more, taking about 10 minutes.
Mix well the flour with the olive oil, so that every grain is coated with oil. Add the yeast mixture and salt, and enough warm water to form a dough. Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) at a time and knead well, so the dough doesn’t turn loose and liquid. The dough should be elastic enough and not stick to the hands or the bowl. Shape it into a ball and let it rest for at least 3 hours, covered, in a warm place, for the dough to rise to double its original volume.
To make the filling, chop the spinach, place in a colander, and rub with salt. Keep in the colander for the spinach to drain its water for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6).
Squeeze the spinach well to remove additional water, and transfer to a bowl. Finely chop the onion, add it to the spinach, and add the sumac and the olive oil. Mix well to obtain a dough-like mixture; you want it to be dry, without excess liquid.
Roll the bread dough out thinly, and cut small disks (4 inches, or 10 cm, in diameter). Put 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each disk. Fold one-third of the side in toward the middle, then the other one-third, and then last part, so as to transform the circle into a folded triangle enclosing the filling. Pinch the borders to seal them, and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Serve at room temperature.