‘Fatteh is served around Lebanon where I grew up in various guises but the most classic and recognized version is this one with shredded chicken and crispy pieces of pita bread, layered with spices and yogurt sauce’, explains Salma Hage in her new cookbook The Mezze Cookbook. ‘This chicken fatteh is best assembled at the last minute, as people are gathering at the table, so get everything ready beforehand. If the fatteh sits for too long, the bread will turn from crispy to soggy and one of the best things about this dish is the delightful textures and flavors when it’s enjoyed as soon as it’s ready.’
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom seeds
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon paprika
80g pine nuts, toasted
2 pita breads, toasted
Salt and pepper
FOR THE YOGURT SAUCE
250 ml plain (natural) yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tarragon sprigs, chopped
1. Bring a pan of water to a boil and add the cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds, and cloves. Reduce the heat so that the surface of the water is barely bubbling, add the chicken, and poach for 45 minutes or until very tender. Lift out the chicken with a slotted spoon and let cool, then shred into bite-size pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet or frying pan, add the onion, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then stir in the shredded chicken and paprika and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until heated through, then transfer to a warm serving dish.
3. Mix together all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce and spoon it over the chicken. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Cut the toasted pita breads into squares, put them on top of the dish, and serve immediately.
WHERE TO BUY THE MEZZE COOKBOOK
The Mezze Cookbook by Salma Hage is available from the Phaidon shop here where it is available in both English and French.
Salma Hage’s other cookbooks The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook, a collection of vegetarian and vegan dishes influenced by Middle Eastern flavours and The Lebanese Kitchen, the definitive book on Lebanese home cooking, featuring 500 authentic and delicious recipes that are simple to create at home.
MORE RECIPES FROM THE MEZZE COOKBOOK
Salma Hage | The Mezze Cookbook | Blood Orange Sorbet
Salma Hage | The Mezze Cookbook | Roasted Baby Beetroots (Beets) with Za’atar Labneh
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