Damascus, SANA – The Damascene cuisine is known for Fatteh, a meal that consists of bread and assorted other ingredients, with chickpeas being a staple of the traditional Damascene Fatteh that has a special place on dining tables, particularly on weekends and holidays.
Traditionally, Fatteh was made at home, with small shops specializing in selling its components for easy preparation later, and eventually restaurants began putting it on their menus, and this trend gained popularity and many restaurants that specialize in this particular dish began to open.
One of the first restaurants to serve Fatteh as a signature dish is Sett al-Cham. Restaurant owner Nabil Taqwa told SANA that he was inspired by his father who used to make them this meal at home, particularly on weekends and during Ramadan. When he grew up, Taqwa opened the restaurant which at first only served chickpeas-based Fatteh with either olive oil or ghee (cooking butter).
This was 30 years ago, and over the years as the idea of eating this dish in a restaurant gained popularity, Taqwa began to introduce new variations to it, including ones with chicken, lamb, and even lamb’s trotters. Currently, the restaurant presents over 15 different Fatteh dishes, in addition to other Damascene dishes.
Fatteh is made from dried or toasted flatbread, chickpeas, tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), spices, and garnished with nuts, with other ingredients added to taste. The dish is prepared using ghee, olive oil, or a mixture of oil and the water in which the chickpeas were boiled.