Samosas of the Middle east"Fatayer" Food Bytes by Monish Gujral

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Indian Express

Monish Gujral Last Updated : 27 Apr 2012 12:10:08 PM IST
Lately, I have been travelling across the globe in search of the choicest kabab recipes to compile my book called Kingdoms of Kababs. I am simplifying them in my book to enable all the great home chefs to make them in their own kitchens.
In Kuwait I was hosted by one of my Arabic friends. On my first day, I was treated to a breakfast that I will never forget.The breakfast consisted of fresh fruits, a platter of fresh dates and prunes and warm triangular savory pastries, which some how reminded of fresh warm stuffed baby nans, served along with pickled vegetables and yoghurt.
There’s a saying in Arabic, yeslamou eedaik, it is used to thank a cook for preparing a delicious meal. It literally translates to ‘bless your hands’. I said this to my friend’s grand mother for such a wonderful treat.
The triangular shaped fatayer or fitiir is a meat pie pastry that can alternatively be stuffed with spinach (sabanekh), or cheese (jibnah). It is part of the Middle Eastern cuisine and is eaten in Kuwait, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and other countries in the region. Fatayer is a simple dish, in theory: just dough and filling. The dough can be made with either milk or water. Some chefs in Syria use milk, while some in Lebanon use water.
Interestingly, I saw many fatayer shops in Kuwait that only sold fatayers with different fillings such as beef, lamb, chicken, Haloumi cheese, spinach, vegetables etc. Fatayers are sold in bakeries, school cafeterias, cafe and pastry shops. They make a great start to the day or are a wonderful companion for the afternoon tea. Fatayer el jebneh or cheese pies are typically boat-shaped, but you can shape the dough any way you are comfortable with. I sometimes shape them the same way as the lebanese meat pies and on some days I make them into triangles or circles, they are tasty in any shape, so have fun with it. The cheese used for the stuffing is usually Akkawi cheese mixed with a little Kashkaval or Cheddar cheese, but you can use any salty cheese you like. You can add a variety of flavourings too cilantro, nigella seeds or dried mint add another dimension of flavour, but if you are a fan of plain cheese flavour, like me, feel free to use a plain cheese stuffing.
Here is a recipe to treat your self and your dear ones to a mouth-watering fatayer.

[button color="green" link="" target=""] Click for FATAYER Recipe [/button]

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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