Bring the Middle East to your Dining Table
During these exceptional times of quarantine, there’s nothing better than bringing global flavors into our homes. I would like to introduce you to a healthy and delicious middle eastern recipe that everyone will be able to try: fatayer.
Fatayer are popular throughout the middle east. They are little pies and are eaten as appetizers or light snacks. You can make them with various fillings such as meat, cheese or even spinach. At the end of this article, you’ll be able to find links for each of the different fillings for you to try.
Without further ado, here’s a recipe for my personal favorite fatayer: fatayer bi sabanekh (Lebanese spinach turnovers).
Let’s dive into it!
Ingredients (25 servings):
Few of these ingredients are optional and adapted to your preference and taste.
If you don’t want to use yeast bread you can simply omit the yeast and work with your dough. Make sure to let it sit for an hour.
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm 105-115 degrees F water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose or 00 flour
1 cup all-purpose or pastry flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup canola or olive oil
1 pound spinach
2 medium onions 6 ounces
2 tablespoons sumac
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses optional
In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water. Let sit for a minute before stirring to combine. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, and salt. Gradually stir in the oil, then yeast with water until dough comes together. On a lightly greased surface, knead until smooth and elastic. Place in large bowl, cover, and let rest 1-2 hours.
If using fresh spinach, head a large pan over medium heat and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add spinach and cook just until wilted. Remove to colander. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out all excess moisture. For frozen spinach, defrost and squeeze out all excess moisture.
Finely chop the onions and place in medium bowl. Stir in the sumac, salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne. Let sit while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses, if using. Set aside.
Squeeze all excess moisture from the onions. Combine the onions and pine nuts with the spinach. Lightly coat with the dressing until just moistened, not wet.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
Divide the dough in half, covering one half. On a large, oiled work surface, roll half the dough until thin, 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. Use a 4-inch-wide circle cutter to cut out the dough.
Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the center of each circle. Pinch together 3 edges of the circle over the center of the filling. Seal down one side, then across the other to form pyramid shape. Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining circles and other half of dough.
Bake in preheated oven until golden, 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
While preparing the filling, make sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the ingredients because a lot of water will make the fatayer soggy or even open.
You can freeze the remaining fatayer for future use and can be baked straight from the freezer.
Have fun making Fatayer with your family and stay safe!
Links to the recipes:
Fatayer bi sabanekh (with Spanish): https://tarasmulticulturaltable.com/fatayer-bi-sabanekh-lebanese-spinach-turnovers/
Fatayer with cheese: https://www.breadworld.com/recipe/Cheese-Fatayer
Fatayer with meat: https://www.acedarspoon.com/lebanese-meat-pies/