I’ve said this once, and I’ll say it again, making dough is much easier than you would think. I used to think it was one of the hardest things to master. I would only have fatayer at my in-laws’ house or buy them from Middle Eastern bakeries, but after learning this really quick ten minute dough recipe, fatayer has become one of the easiest things for me to make. It has honestly been a life-changer and I am always so excited to share the recipe with everyone!
Fatayer sabanekh, meaning spinach pies, are one of my absolute favourites, but they are one of the more time-consuming fillings to make. However, they are definitely worth the effort. You want to make sure you clean your spinach properly, getting rid of any soil, because there is nothing worse than gritty spinach! Secondly, you want to chop your onions very fine, because we will not be cooking them on the hob. Some recipes cook the onions and some even the spinach, but the acid in the lemon juice will soften everything up and mellow out the strong onion taste. Finally, you want really good quality sumac, the darker the colour, the better. Pink sumac usually does not have much flavour.
When forming the fatayer, the most popular shape is a triangle. Feel free to make any shape you like, but I find that the triangle gives the best dough to filling ratio and contains the filling the best. Make sure you get as much moisture as possible out of the filling before placing it into the dough to stop the triangles from bursting open and to avoid soggy fatayer!
These earthy and tangy fatayer work well with some spice to give it a kick, so if you enjoy the heat, definitely add in the fresh chillies or even some red chilli flakes. Try making these and I guarantee it won’t be the last time!
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk powder
2 cups warm water
3 cups plain flour
½ cup olive oil
500 g fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
1 large red onion, finely chopped
Jalapeno/green chilies (optional)
2-3 tbsp sumac
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp olive oil
- To make the dough, mix 2 cups of flour with the yeast, sugar, salt, milk powder and water together in a large bowl. Whisk until completely incorporated. It will be a runny mixture. Cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
- Once the dough base has risen, 10-15 minutes later, it should look bubbly and doubled in size. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour and olive oil and knead until it is smooth. If it is too sticky, add some flour while kneading and if it is too dry, add a little bit more oil. You could use this immediately, but I like to leave to rest while I make the filling. The rested dough is easier to work with.
- To make the filling, mix together the finely chopped spinach, onion and chillies (if using). Add the sumac, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Mix together well and taste. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Place in a sieve over a bowl and with your hands or the back of a spoon, press the spinach mixture to release the excess liquid. Do this every few minutes until the filling has minimal or no liquid.
- Divide the dough into equal-sized balls and cover while working. Spread your dough, add filling in the middle, but not too much so it doesn’t ooze out, and fold over the sides to make a triangle. Place on a lined baking tray.
- Brush with milk or egg wash and bake at 200C or 180C in a fan-assisted oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
MORE RECIPE: Fruit Cocktail (Fakhfakhina)