Damascene chickpea fatteh / Fatteh Shamiyeh Bil Badweh (Video)

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We all have memories associated one way or another with food, whether of family meals, picnics, seasonal festive meals, camping or simply the special weekend breakfast.

Friday was always a big breakfast day for us growing up. Well, it was more of a brunch day to be more specific and it always took place just before noon. My father was and still is our breakfast specialist. To him, and most Damascenes really, Friday breakfasts means a big table spread of many staple Damascene breakfast delights and a star dish or two. Some of my favourites stars that taste the best when made by him are layered falafel salad, foul (cooked dried fava beans), chickpea fatteh bil zait or chickpea fatteh bil badweh as in this recipe prepared Damascene style with hummus (msabaha).

Fatteh is a style of food with a specific preparation technique that involves stale or fried Arabic bread (pita) and endless options of sauces and toppings.

What does fatteh mean? It is basically cubing of bread that soak up a sauce. In the olden days stale bread was used as food was scarce and there was no room for waste, it was recycled, nowadays fried bread is more common. Fatteh has many variations using specific preparation techniques. The Egyptian fatteh is very different in style from the Levantine fatteh, though it is executed following almost the same technique. The various variations of Levantine fatteh, on the other hand, bear the same names across the region, however, differ slightly with the add-ons. For example, a Homsi chicken fatteh has an add-on of cooked white rice as opposed to the Damascene one. The traditional fattes are chickpea fatteh (a stable Friday breakfast), chicken fatteh, aubergine fatteh, offal fatteh, trotter fatteh, meat fatteh and many more. You can always play around with fatteh as the variations are endless if you follow the technique. For example, one of my variations which is a spin of fattet makdouse is the rolled kufta aubergine fatteh.

Servings: 5

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Start to finish: 20 minutes


  • 2 large pita bread

  • 3 tins cooked organic chickpeas

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 5 cups yogurt cheese

  • 3/4 cup hummus

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • Salt to taste

  • Vegetable ghee

  • Pine nuts


* Cut the pita bread into 2 cm cubes and place them in the serving bowl.

* Place the chickpeas and their brine in a pot on medium heat, adding a bit more water to cover them. Bring to the boil cover and turn off the heat.

* Mix the yogurt, hummus, tahini and salt together then whisk over a Bain- marine in order to take the chill of the yogurt, adjust the salt.

* Crush the garlic and mix with the bread adding a bit of salt then pour enough of the hot chickpea brine to soak the bread then add half the chickpeas and 1/3 of the yogurt mix and toss together.

* Add the remainder of the chickpeas and more of the brine if the bread is too dry then top with the remainder of yogurt mix and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

* Heat enough ghee to your liking and fry the pine nuts, as soon as they start to turn golden brown pour the contents over the fatteh piping hot.

* Decorated with pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.


* Preferably use stale bread as it absorbs more liquid and sauce.

* Some people like to add some lemon juice in the yogurt sauce, but I prefer it without.

* This is one of the classic techniques for preparing fatteh, try to experiment with different ingredients using your imagination following the same technique.

* You can use vegetable oil instead of ghee, and for a lower calorie alternative omit both the ghee and the oil.

* Eat with plenty of pickles and onions.

Per Serving: 632 Calories; 12g Fat (17.0% calories from fat); 43g Protein; 90g Carbohydrate; 10g Dietary Fibre; 16mg Cholesterol; 1073mg Sodium.