I needed to grab a quick bite before going to class and had one of those I’m feeling adventurous moments. I hopped into a Mediterranean restaurant hoping I’d find something new to try and went with an appetizer that had a vague description: “Whole chickpeas, mix of chickpea paste and tahini sauce, and fried bread topped with oil and nuts. Served with small veggie plate”. I assumed this appetizer was cold and came with some sort of bread to dip into the sauce, but you know what they say about assuming! Boy was I wrong.
This dish is called fatteh. Despite the horrible description on the menu, it’s a vegetarian dish comprised of pita chips topped with chickpeas, hummus (more chickpeas), tahini sauce, oil and bits of cashews to my surprise. When I first took a big whiff of it, it was pretty pungent. The smell of garlic and cumin overwhelmed my senses and I wondered if I would be able to eat it all. In the end, the taste wasn’t as strong as I feared. It was savory, but the taste of garlic lingered in my mouth. I suppose fatteh is similar to eating a hummus plate, only warm and with nuts. However, it was the crunch of the pita chips (the ones that weren’t soaked up by the sauce) that made the dish for me. Also, it seems simple enough to make at home – buy or make pita chips for your base, add some hummus mixed with whole chickpeas (though I’ve seen recipes that add yogurt instead), tahini sauce and garlic, then top with some nuts.
Since the menu said it also came with a side of veggies, I originally envisioned celery, cucumbers and carrot sticks for some reason. Brain fart. I’m eating Mediterranean food here and that’s never the case! This is what I got instead:
Olives, hot peppers, tomatoes, pickled beets and pickles. Being the inexperienced grasshopper that I am with this dish, I just ate the fatteh and veggies separately which I found mediocre. However, I only ate a fraction of it before class and saved the rest for the next day. Thankfully I did because I experienced the second half in a completely different way. Instead of eating things solo, I added some of the veggies (mainly pickled beets and pickles) to the fatteh. The conclusion? I realized I preferred fatteh cold with the veggies combined into the dish. It tasted wonderfully together and was very enjoyable. If only I had more fresh and crispy pita chips.
It was a long day, so I don’t know why I didn’t think of mixing the two together when I first got it. Hence my light bulb moment. I’m not sure how most people traditionally eat it, but when I get it again I will know what to do.
Fellow foodies, how do you eat fatteh?