The first time I ate Fattoush, I didn’t pay much attention to it. It was my accompaniment to the more interesting Shawarma. And in the Bangalore of 2000, a Shawarma with all its trimmings was very very exotic. A vertical spit roaster filled with chicken slices rotating ever so slowly, while the chef toasted and filled the strange yeasty bread with Hummus, Tahini, salad and finally the sliced chicken – was a demonstration I thought was fit to bunk classes for. But slowly, ever so slowly, the Fattoush has established a firm place in my heart and I actually forgo the shawarma for just fattoush-hummus these days! So what exactly is the Fattoush? For those of you who have seen ‘Meet the Zohan’ – it’s Zohan’s arch nemisis Phantom’s real name! And for those who have better things to do than indulge in trivial pursuits – it’s a salad. A Lebanese Bread Salad that chefs in the earlier days made as an excuse, to use up stale pita bread. (Ok, no one uses stale bread anymore – just toasted crisps work just fine!) So why am I acting all Alice in Wonderlandy about an ex-stale bread salad? Because fattoush hummus is my comfort baby. My tummy actually asks for this on a regular basis. Coupled with the hummus and the pita crisps, it’s actually a complete meal – One that will leave you feeling healthy and satiated. (No… KFC doesn’t do that!)
Prep time: 15 mins
What you need:
2 Pita Breads, halved and toasted until golden brown and cut into pieces
3 Persian/ English Cucumbers, diced
2 Tomatoes, diced
½ small Onion, diced
1 Capsicum/ Green pepper, diced
1 head of Romaine lettuce, cut into strips
½ cup fresh Mint Leaves
For the dressing:
1 tsp ground Sumac
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Juice of 1 lemon
To Serve: 1 cup Hummus (click here for recipe)
What to do:
First, open up the pita pockets, brush the rough side with olive oil and toast under a hot grill/oven until golden brown. Now break it up into bite sized pieces. (I’ve also seen some restaurants deep fry the pita and then break it up into pieces – you’re call).
Make the dressing by combining Olive oil, sumac, salt and lemon juice.
Combine the salad ingredients. (make sure you wash and pat dry the lettuce well before combining – I use a salad spinner J ) Pour in the dressing just before serving. (This is to prevent the lettuce looking all soggy and wilted).
Toss in the pita crisps and serve with a huge dollop of hummus. (I love my fattoush with the hummus mixed in as well and extra Pita crisps!)
Note: Sumac – a tart, citrusy spice is available at Gourmet food stores. I use the Al’Fez brand available at Godrej Natures basket, Auchan and Foodhall. You can even buy ready-made hummus from these places if you are pressed for time.