The word "fatayer" in Arabic means "cake". But, if you want to imagine them more specifically, think about empanadas. The fatayer is cakes made of dough and filled with different stews, based on meats, cheeses, or vegetables, which are baked.

This recipe for Arab cakes is surely the forerunner of Western empanadas in all its forms. But, the fatayer fold is a bit different than traditional empanadas. Fatayers are found in the kitchens of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine.

In Chile and Argentina, there is a typical preparation very like fatayer. The famous Chilean empanadas. These patties share many common characteristics with the Fatayer. The dough, the filling, and the cooking method. Yet, Chilean seasonings are a far cry from the aromatic spices of Middle Eastern cuisine.

In this post, we will have two special sections, for this delicious dish that can be eaten for breakfast or as a Mezze.

Fatayer fillings

1. The classic vegetarian fillings, as in our case. Swiss chard sauteed with garlic, onions, scallions, bell pepper, and lots of seasonings. This same recipe is prepared by substituting spinach for chard. For a crunchier filling, it is important to add walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds. The variation of textures between the dough, the soft filling, and the crunchy nuts is a delight.

2. Beef and lamb. Our favorite fatayer is the lamb ones. Lots of spices and minced beef or lamb. You should not miss the sautéed vegetables and the nuts for the crunchy touch. They are also prepared baked.

Dough for the Fatayers

Fatayer is usually prepared with two differentiated types of dough. The first dough is leavening, rich in wheat, yeast, and very fluffy. The consistency is like pizza dough. This is the version that we prepare for this recipe.

There is a second type of dough that is widely used, and it is a mixture of sable dough with a puff pastry. This dough is oilier, it has a lot of flavors. Fatayer made with this type of dough crumble in your mouth as soon as you bite into them. It has the defect of being greasier, but the virtue of having much more flavor.


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