“Fatteh, derived from an old Arabic verb meaning ‘to break bread and steep in liquid,’ is a common dish across the Middle East,” says Reem Kassis, the award-winning Palestinian author, food writer, and advocate for the cuisine and cultural heritage of Palestine and the Arab world. “The base is bread, but the toppings vary from eggplants (aubergines) and chickpeas, to rice and a variety of meats. The sauces are just as varied with some yogurt-based, others tahini-based, and others broth- or lemon-based. Moona, a restaurant in Boston serving up creative Middle Eastern dishes based on pantry ingredients (moona means ‘pantry’ in Arabic), has a version made with mushrooms. Mushrooms have an earthy, meaty taste that is superbly complemented by the sweet tartness of pomegranate molasses, the crunchiness of the toasted bread and nuts, and the brightness of the yogurt-tahini dressing. Just another example of how pushing boundaries can lead to delicious surprises.”
“Bread, the common thread in tharid dishes, encapsulates the essence of Arab hospitality and culinary culture. The idea of using it to bulk up a meal — a practice in many cultures that is probably rooted in scarcity — allows people to stretch valuable ingredients such as meat to feed large families and crowds, reflecting the spirit of sharing and communal dining prevalent across the Arab world.”
Kassis is a Palestinian writer whose work focuses on the intersection of food with culture, history, and politics. You can find some of her writings in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Her debut cookbook, The Palestinian Table (2017), won the Guild of Food Writers Award and Gourmand World Cookbook award, was nominated for a James Beard Award, was short-listed for the Andre Simon Award and the Edward Stanford Award, and was picked as one of NPR’s best books of 2017. Her second cookbook is The Arabesque Table (2021).
“Ideally, this dish is made with pure pomegranate molasses that does not have any added sugar. But if you are making this with a brand that happens to have sugar, leave out the honey,” she adds.
2 large or 4 small thin pita breads in 3/4-inch/2 cm squares (6 oz./165 g or 2 1/2 generous cups)