Sunday, 27 May 2012



Fatta is Palestine's signature dish. In its simplest form Fatta is shredded arabic bread soaked in stock covered with rice then meat or chicken, and garnished in almonds, pine nuts and fresh parsley or coriander. Sounds complicated, but its beauty lies in its simplicity. It certainly is a winner in out house. 

To start, chop up a whole chicken into 4 pieces. Place in a pot and cover the chicken with water. Bring to the boil skimming the surface til it's totally clear

For the stock: 
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper, 
  • Salt to taste
Add the onion and Salt, pepper and cardamon pods to the stock. Turn down the heat and let it simmer slowly for another 30-40 minutes. When cooked, remove the chicken and let it cool down. Strain the stock and 
return to very low heat till you are ready to use it.

Now for the rice. I usually use basmati rice. Its a free flowing kind of rice as opposed to sticky. Perfect for this dish. Cook the basmati rice as normal, but replace half the quantity of water with chicken stock.   

This dish isnt complete without the "special" sauce. To make it, you will need

  • 3 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 teaspoon salt, 
  • 1 green hot chili,
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, 
  • juice of 1 whole lemon, 
  • 1/2 cup of water
With a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with the salt, hot chilli and pepper. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and finally the water. Mix well. This special sauce really completes this dish. I usually add some finely chopped fresh coriander too, to give it that extra bit of colour. 
Putting it all together is a little tricky the first time you do it, but once you get the hang of it, its a piece of cake. 

Get your serving dish out. Break up the arabic bread (you can get this from any middleastern store) into small pieces covering the entire dish. Spoon the chicken stock over the bread- enough that it absorbs it, but not swimming in it. Now spoon the basmati rice over that. Top that with the chicken pieces and most of the remaining chicken stock.

Garnish with fresh parsley/ coriander, roasted pine nuts and fried almonds and serve immediately. 

At home, we usually present this dish in one large serving dish, and everyone lifts what they want onto their own plate.  Around 2/3 tablespoons of the "special sauce" is sprinkled over the whole plate. Followed by lots and lots of yumming and mmming :) 

SAHTAYN - the middleastern equivalent of BON APETIT 


No comments:

Post a Comment