18 April 2011

Fattoush - the salad for non-salad lovers

I hate salads that taste like a pile of grass. I'm more of a caesar salad person - sure, I like some leaves, but I prefer them crunchy, and then I want a whole heap of non-salad items in there, like bacon, eggs, bread and cheese. Or maybe a complete lack of leaves, like in a greek salad - again, with the cheese, and something tangy like olives. But just don't serve me weeds - ugh.

This region has a famous salad, and I'd never heard of it before I arrived - but now I order it everywhere. I'm on my own special mission to find the best Fattoush (also fatoush, fattush and probably a myriad of other spellings) that can be found in Dubai. So far, it's a war between Bayt al Wakeel on the Bur Dubai side of the creek in the middle of the Old Souk, and Tagine, at the One and Only Royal Mirage.

Fattoush's wonderful addition is fried bread. It's like an arabic crouton, but better, and I make mine in the oven and they taste just as good. These croutons are so awesome, I eat half of them before I even make the salad. But the salad is pretty good too - it's fresh, aromatic, colourful and crunchy. 

  • radishes, a small bunch - sliced
  • 1 lebanese cucumber - sliced or diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (or use half a punnet of tiny cherry tomatoes like I did)
  • fresh mint, loosely chopped
  • fresh thyme, loosely chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sumac (finely grated lemon rind is a poor substitute)
  • salt and pepper

for the bread
  • 1 slice small pita bread, cut into small squares
  • canola oil - a good slurp
  • salt

  1. in a 150ᵒC oven, place a tray with the bread tossed through with canola oil and salt, and cook until golden brown (about 10 minutes)
  2. combine other ingredients in a bowl and toss (or arrange prettily as I have)
  3. When bread is cool, add on top of the salad, and sprinkle extra sumac for garnish.

This salad is also amazing thrown in a pita shell with a big dollop of natural yoghurt.


  1. Hmmmmm....found you through foodgawker....bwahahahaa! I love fattoush as well.....my fav salad. alhtough i have to ask, how is lemon rind a substitute for sumac- now ways!!!!!!!

  2. I know - a poor substitute, not a good one, just catering for those who can't find it. Lemon rind doesn't have that sherbetty zing or magenta colour, I know. I'm so glad it's available here - back in Melbourne it's a specialty spice, and only found in gourmet stores.

  3. One of my favorite salads ever,
    I remember my mother making it back at home especially on summer days. I miss it, being in the north of Scotland makes it almost impossible to find Sumac. Instead of balsamic vinegar it tastes great with lebanese ruman syrup - or pomegranate molasses which makes it much fruitier. I love your blog, it's just like being back at home.

  4. oooh - I love pomegranate molasses - and that is nigh impossible to find in western supermarkets. I think when (or if) I ever return to Melbourne, I am going to have to open a Middle Eastern spice shop!

    Thanks Umamimamu, feel-good comment!

  5. omg I just had this for the first time a few weeks ago and now I can't get enough!

  6. You should try Al Hallab's fattoush (beside Chili's Deira) :)
    You will LOVE IT.


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