Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Hot weather, and the food I crave...Fatteh


We have been experiencing some rather strange weather here in Johannesburg. The days are really hot and some nights seem to become quite chilly. I'm not complaining though, because a cooler night means a more restful sleep!
With the hot days though, my family prefer light meals, and although a salad is fine most days, some days you just want something more substantial. Enter this chicken fatteh... It is light, though filling and perfect for summer weather. Fatteh is a popular dish throughout the Middle East. The first time I tasted fatteh, was at a tiny Lebanese restaurant in Dubai, more than fifteen years ago. It was love at first sight...umm taste! I tried to replicate it when I got home and here is my version...
 Give this beautiful recipe a go, you can thank me later!


This recipe serves 6-8.

Chicken:

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons za'atar
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
A good glug of olive oil
Finely grated zest  and juice of a lemon

Combine the chicken with all the rest of the ingredients. Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight. Heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Place chicken in a casserole dish, pour 1 cup of water over, cover tightly with foil,and place in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes or until done. Be careful not to let the juices dry out. If it seems to be drying out, add a splash of water. Remove from oven and tear into large pieces. Place back into the oven dish. Keep warm.

Tomato sauce: 

2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of dried mint
2 cloves garlic, crushed
A pinch of chilli flakes

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer till slightly thickened. Keep warm.

Rice: 

2 cups long grain rice, rinsed and soaked in hot water for about 20 minutes
1 medium onion, finely sliced
Olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Boiling water
A knob of butter

Place onion in a large pot with the olive oil. Fry until golden. Add the salt and the drained rice. Stir
until rice is coated in the oil,then add the boiling water to cover the rice. Cook until rice is done and
all the water is absorbed. You may need to add some more water. Add the butter and gently stir through. Keep warm.

Aubergines: 

2  large Aubergines
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Cut Aubergines into 1 centimetre cubes. Place in colander, sprinkle with salt, and leave to drain
for about 1/2 an hour. Rinse and dry well and toss with the olive oil. Place in a 180 degree centigrade oven and roast until just cooked through.

Crisp flatbread:

4 lebanese flatbreads
Olive oil
Salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mint

 Drizzle some olive oil over the flat bread. Sprinkle with the salt and mint. Place in a 150 degree centigrade oven to toast. Once cool, break into large chunks and store in an airtight container.

Yoghurt;
500 milliliters Greek yoghurt
3 tablespoons of tahini
A sprinkle of salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients together.Whisk well. Refrigerate until required.

You will also need:

2 tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
A handful of mint leaves, chopped
A handful of pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan until golden
1 teaspoon sumac

Fatteh being layered up...
 To assemble: 

Place a  layer of crisp flatbread in a large serving platter. Top with a mound of rice.Sprinkle a generous layer of chickpeas.Now add a generous helping of chicken, together with the pan juices. Place dollops of tomato sauce over, then scatter over some aubergines cubes. Dollop the yoghurt over, then sprinkle with the parsley, mint, and pine nuts. Lastly,dust with some sumac. Serve with extra yoghurt/ tahini mixture on the side and savour every morsel...

Note; I sometimes omit the chickpeas and add a few dollops of hummus.Or you can add both!