Hisham Assaad's Chickpeas & Garlic Yoghurt With Fried Bread (Fatteh)

The opportunities are endless for this meal that utilises the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard

Top your fatteh with cashews, pine nuts and almonds. Photo / Supplied

Fatteh, which comes from the Arabic for crumbling bread (fatta al khobz), is one of those recipes that went from being a leftovers solution to a glamorous dish.

It uses stale bread that’s toasted or fried and crumbled to create a base, which is then covered with yoghurt and other savoury toppings.

The varieties are endless and they change based on what you have in your cupboard and what meal you’re serving it for. A few years ago, a shrimp fatteh became the talk of the town due to someone sharing it on Snapchat among the local traditional dishes in a Lebanese restaurant. While the dish doesn’t sound that bad, it surely isn’t traditional.

I find this dish to be like a savoury breakfast trifle (not in a Rachel Green from Friends way – we’re not talking meat with jam and sponge layers here!).

Layer the fried or toasted crumbled bread at the bottom to soak up the delicious juices from the other ingredients and top with chickpeas and garlicky yoghurt with fried nuts for a mix of textures.

Serves 4

1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 2 x 400g tinned
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups plain yoghurt
50g pita bread
2 Tbsp butter or ghee
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup cashews
2/3 cup slivered almonds
½ cup pine nuts (optional)
Pinch of paprika, for dusting

1. If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in plenty of water.

2. The next day, drain the chickpeas, place in a saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh water.

3. Bring to the boil, then skim off the foam with a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1-1½ hours until the chickpeas are cooked and tender. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid, and let cool slightly. Alternatively, drain the tinned chickpeas, reserving ½ cup of their soaking liquid, and heat through in a saucepan with the reserved liquid.

4. In a pestle and mortar, smash the garlic with the salt. Mix with the yoghurt. Toast or fry the pita bread and break into large pieces. Place the pieces at the bottom of a large serving bowl and lightly soak the bread with some of the chickpea cooking liquid. (If you prefer a little crunch to your fatteh, reserve some of the crispy bread in a separate bowl to serve alongside.) Top with the cooked chickpeas, then drizzle over the garlic yoghurt.

5. Meanwhile, heat the butter/ghee and olive oil in a pan and toast the nuts until golden. Scoop the nuts and the hot butter/oil mixture over the yoghurt, dust with paprika and serve immediately.

Recipe extracted from 'Bayrut: The Cookbook' by Hisham Assaad, $65, Smith Street Books.

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