Free ebooks Library zlibrary project

29
Aug

fatteh-chicken & yoghurt 2 copy

It’s lucky I don’t invite the same friends all the time otherwise they might get bored of eating the same thing. I tend to fall in love with one dish and I cook it again and again until I get bored with it. These days, my favourite dishes for when I have guests over are kibbeh if I have time and fatteh if I don’t. Fatteh is a composite dish made of layers: toasted bread, meat (chicken, lamb or offal in particular lambs’ feet), chickpeas, yoghurt and pine nuts. The combination of textures is delightful. In one bite you have crunchy (the toasted bread and nuts), soft (the meat and chickpeas) and velvety (the yoghurt). You also get contrasting temperatures with the hot meat and chickpeas tempered by the bread and yoghurt which are at room temperature.

Fatteh can also be vegetarian, made with chickpeas and served for breakfast or made with aubergines that are fried, steamed or grilled and served for lunch or dinner. In Syria they have a fabulous version with baby aubergines that are stuffed with meat which they serve at Naranj in Damascus. Some cooks fry the bread. This has the advantage of keeping it crisp for longer but the disadvantage of it being too heavy. I prefer to toast mine.

fatteh-toasted bread 2 copy

Being a committed carnivore, I very rarely make the vegetarian version. I prefer it with meat and I normally use chicken rather than lamb. I buy a whole organic chicken which I poach with an onion and a cinnamon stick, adding enough salt to the broth so that I don’t need to add any more later.

fatteh-chicken not cooked copy

I always prepare the chicken way ahead of time. I pour some of the broth in a clean pan, then I set about destroying the chicken to take the meat off the bone, discarding the skin. I cut the meat into smallish pieces and I drop these into the broth. As I do this, I nibble on the wings, parson’s nose and other bits — love poached chicken. I then add the cooked chickpeas — I now use those preserved in glass jars in just water and salt without any preservatives; much simpler than soaking and boiling dried chickpeas — and set the pan aside until I am ready to serve the fatteh. Then, about half an hour before I am ready to serve my fatteh, I reheat the chicken and chickpeas over a low heat making sure not to let the broth boil otherwise the texture of the meat will change. Then, I spread the toasted bread over the plate. I carefully spoon the chicken and chickpeas over the bread making sure not to cover it entirely. Then I spoon the yoghurt over the chicken, chickpeas and bread, again leaving a little of the bread uncovered for colour and I sprinkle the toasted pine nuts all over. My mother sautés the pine nuts in butter and she pours the butter over the yoghurt. I hate seeing the tracks of browned butter soil the lovely white yoghurt and I prefer to toast my pine nuts in the oven. The final dish looks much more appealing this way, and it is lighter!

fatteh-bread & chicken 2 copy

Fattet Djej

In Arabic, fatta means ‘to break in pieces’ and fatteh consists of several layers of crumbled, broken or cut ingredients, hence the name. There are variations on how each layer is prepared. some prefer to sauté the toasted bread in butter, crushed garlic and herb of their choice before laying it under the other ingredients and leaving the yoghurt topping plain. I find this variation rather heavy and not so healthy. I also always use goat’s yoghurt which I much prefer to either cow’s or sheep’s yoghurt. Serves 4

1 chicken (about 1 1/2 kg)

1 cinnamon stick

1 onion, peeled

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

1 large pita bread, opened and toasted

1 glass jar chickpeas (475 g drained)

60 g pine nuts

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1 kg goat’s yoghurt

Put the chicken in a saucepan, add 1 1/2 litre water and place over a medium heat. As the water is about to boil, skim the surface clean, then add the cinnamon stick and salt. Cover the pan and boil gently for 45 minutes or until the chicken is done

While the chicken is cooking toast the bread in a hot oven or under the grill until golden and let it cool. Rinse the chick peas under cold water to get rid of the salty taste. Spread the pine nuts over a baking sheet and roast in a hot oven for 6-7 minutes, or until they have become golden brown.

Mix the crushed garlic (and mint if you chose to use it) into the yoghurt. Add salt to taste and set aside.

Break the toasted bread into bite-sized pieces and spread over the bottom of a serving dish. Lift the chicken and chickpeas out of the stock and spread over the bread. Cover with the seasoned yoghurt and garnish with the toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.

©Anissa Helou — adapted from Lebanese Cuisine


There is 14 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Oooh that does look good, Aunty!
    We had a lovely chicken fatteh at Abdel Wahab restaurant in Beirut on our trip. Liked it very much.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    glad you like it kavey. have to say, am not so keen on abdel wahab myself 🙂 nice room and nice location but not such great food…


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    we add black peppercorns as well to poaching liquid, maybe a few allspice berries, u dont?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    we don’t but i could easily do that. next time 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    My sister loves fatteh. For some reason, I just never liked it, or moghrabiyyeh. I like everything seperately, just not together. I haven’t had it years, maybe I should try it with an open mind again. We usually keep in vegetarian, I know some people use meat too.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    to peel or not peel the chickpeas..that is the question,,lol…great post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    in this case, definitely not to peel the chickpeas :). glad you enjoyed the post…


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I love fatteh too. My favorite version: fattet makdous. It’s addicting.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    that’s the one which they serve at naranj and which i describe. so amazing. i wish the lion would just go so that i can return to syria 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    A dish with so many textures to enjoy…….heaven. Thank you for sharing this !


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hello Anissa, je suis comme toi passionnée par les abats, cette recette-ci me tente particulièrement, comme tu dis soft and crunchy…j’ai vécu dans de nombreux pays mais pas au moyen orient


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    j’espere que tu vas aimer quand tu essaie la recette 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hello Anissa,
    I love your site. So happy to find it.Thank you for the recipes and for the entertaining.
    I love Fetta in all forms…my mother used to spread a layer of cooked rice on the top. then decorate it with parsly,pine nuts..and a sprinle of black pepper.
    Do you have a recipe for Fettat Makdouse( with suffed eggplant in tomato juce?) I would love to have it .
    Sana from Mettawa, IL


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    hi sana, glad you are enjoying my blog. i don’t have a recipe for fattet makdous but from the one i always have at naranj in damascus, the stuffing of the aubergines is like that for sheikh el-mehshi although i am not sure if the aubergines are cooked in tomato or simply water. will try to find out for you 🙂

Leave a Comment


Warning: Undefined variable $user_ID in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/comments.php on line 38