Every country has dishes that signal the approach of a new season, and when it comes to the Arab world, lentil soup is definitely at the top of the list of dishes that usher in winter. It is officially winter in our house when lentil soup shows up on the table. Palestinians take lentil soup to the next level by making it into a fatteh, which comes from the Arabic verb “fatta” which means to shred. This refers to the torn bread that forms the base of any fatteh.
Gazans take this dish things even further by topping it with a spicy and tangy chilli sauce that wakes up the flavours.
Lentils are a winter staple in many parts of the world, as they are a great source of protein and iron, as well as carbs and fibre, keeping you fuller for longer. This version is the most basic, but many people add carrots, potatoes and tomatoes to the soup and then blend it after cooking. It is a great way to pack in some extra vegetables, especially for little ones.
The best part is that it requires very little effort and can be cooked and on your table within 30 minutes. It is the perfect way to use up stale bread. You could even toast or fry your bread instead of keeping it soft, this is a matter of personal taste. Many people like to serve fattet adas with a side of fresh radishes, spring onions and olives. Try this super warm and cosy dish and enjoy winter the Palestinian way.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup red lentils
1 tbsp garlic paste
1-1 1/2 tbsp cumin
4 cups water
1 green chilli, finely chopped
½ cup lemon juice
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Cook until soft.
- Add the lentils and cook with the onions and oil, making sure the lentils become coated with olive oil.
- Add the garlic paste, salt and cumin and stir well. Add the water and bring to a boil. Taste the water and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Cover the pot, lower the heat all the way and let cook for about 30 minutes or until soft and slightly thickened.
- While the soup cooks, add the chilies and salt to a mortar and pestle and mash until almost smooth. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Set aside.
- To serve, tear the bread and cover the bottom of the plate, then ladle as much of the lentil soup as you like. Add some of the chilli sauce and enjoy!