Sam’s story of Lebanon

Sam’s story of Lebanon

“As a child coming from Lebanon most of my early memories were leaving the country in a rush because of the war. I hardly understood what was going on but that’s what stuck with me the most.

Growing up, my favourite dish was Moujadra, which is lentils and fried onions served with labneh (a strained yogurt which has the texture of cream cheese). It is a dish that tastes great at whatever time hot or cold. It was also a dish that me and my father could share as he is a vegetarian.

As a child, my mother used to cook for the family Her being British, cooking was a challenge but she always made food that made everyone smile and enjoy every bit of the lunch or dinner.

The recipe I treasure most is Fatteh. It is a northern Lebanese dish usually served breakfast. At the bottom is toasted flatbread pieces covered by chickpeas and topped with yoghurt, tahini sauce and toasted pine nuts. It is important to me as it was the first dish my mum taught me to do.

Sam’s Fatteh

500g kg greek yogurt
2 cans of chickpeas
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or diced
1/2 cup of water
3-4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup of pine nuts
2-3 small flatbreads (fried or baked)
1/2 tablespoon of butter
sea salt to taste
Mint for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven on gas mark 5. Brush oil onto the flat breads, and place in the oven until crispy golden brown. (around 10 min)
  1. Meanwhile, heat the chickpeas in a pan, using some of the chickpea liquid with half a cup of water. Cook for 15-20 min on a low heat.
  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of tahini with the greek yogurt. Add 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add salt to taste
  1. When the flatbread is golden brown, remove from the oven, and break into 1-2 cm pieces in a casserole dish.
  1. In a separate pan, lightly fry the pine-nuts until toasted. When toasted, remove from the heat and add the butter.
  1. When the chickpeas are hot and soft, remove half of them from the pan, with a bit of the liquid they’ve been cooking in, and place in a separate mixing bowl. Add the cumin, paprika, salt, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix and mash together until all of the chickpeas are squashed and mixed. (discard the rest of the liquid in the pan)
  1. Gently mix the chickpeas together, and then pour over the flatbread.
  1. Evenly spread the yogurt and tahini mix over the chickpeas.
  1. Pour the pine-nuts and butter on the top, sprinkle some paprika, drizzle some olive oil, and place a mint leaf on top for garnish.

Serve with mint and a simple salad of chopped tomatoes, pickles, cucumber and onions.