I came across Fatayer for the first time over a year ago when I bought a good cookbook on my sister’s recommendation. I can’t find a translation for the word, but it seems to be some sort of word for pocket or purse in Lebanese/Syrian. I am guessing this because fatayer can be stuffed with a whole variety of things – veggies, root vegetables (I had a pumpkin fatayer receipe, I think, a year ago…) and meat. What else could the word mean?
One of the bloggers I read regularly posted a photo and recipe for “Fatayer bel-bakleh” a few days back and I was especially intrigued by them because they are made with Purslane. I had no idea what purslane was (in German it is “Portulak” but that doesn’t help me at all either), but I recognized the photo she posted of the greens that I buy routinely from the Viktualienmarkt (farmer’s market here). I have been buying them for years especially in the summer and early fall in the mix they sell me called “Wildkräutersalat” (wild greens salad). It’s a succulent plant, quite sour, with a nice crunch to it that is very tasty in a salad with bitters and more standard leaves.
I can wholeheartedly recommend the recipe for the pastries, which I baked this morning. If you go with the recipe posted (link here), 1) I don’t think it would be terrible to buy the dough rather than make it yourself, although I was in the mood to cook this morning, so I didn’t mind the three hours of work – yes, it takes that long. 2) regardless of whether or not the dough is homemade, you really do need to roll it as thin as she says or else the pastries come out too doughy, 3) you can also mix in some lamb in some of them – I did after browning some with a chili and onion and garlic in a pan – it goes together really well with the greens. But what was really nice was that the veggie version was just as good as the meat version. 4) It is tough to make the edges of the pastries stick together, at least it was for me – so fork them closed, that tended to work pretty well. 5) lastly…the amount in the recipe is fairly huge…and also there is more filling than there is dough – a lot more. So cut it down or you will have 40 or 50 fatayer on your hands to eat. I gave a bunch away to neighbors this afternoon and have frozen most of the leftovers for now…
Dinner tonight was a healthy mix of things: melissa clark’s kale salad, a favorite, a tomato chutney that I stirred up a few minutes before eating, and of course the fatayer.