Chicken fatteh is a Middle Eastern dish of rice, chicken, garlicky yogurt, crispy pita bread and toasted nuts. It’s a complete comfort food, and truly delicious!
What is chicken fatteh?
Fatteh is a Levantine dish that usually consists of stale or toasted bread, topped with a protein of sorts and a yogurt sauce. A very popular version made with chickpeas is usually eaten for breakfast, while eggplant fatteh makes a delicious appetizer, and chicken fatteh is typically a main dish.
Chicken fatteh usually also includes rice, where the other versions might just be bread with yogurt. The best part is when you have homemade chicken broth to soak the rice in which gives so much flavor to the dish.
Why is this the best chicken fatteh?
It’s packed full of flavor with the broth soaked rice, shredded chicken, garlic yogurt and all the accompanying garnishes.
Fatteh is flexible! Traditionally it was a way to use up leftovers, and this is a great way to use up leftover chicken and rice, and change up the toppings however you like.
It’s such an enjoyable dish to serve to family or friends. Very vibrant and comfort!
Ingredients in fatteh:
Bread: Usually pita bread. Instead of stale bread, We like to crisp up pita bread.
Rice: I usually use basmati rice, that I have leftover. You just need about 2 cups of cooked rice or so. If you don’t have any cooked rice, prepare the basmati rice:
Soak rice for about 20 minutes, then drain and rinse. Place in a saucepan with 1.5 cups of water (or until the water covers the rice by about an inch). Add a little salt and oil to the water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover tightly.
Leave to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Set off the heat but still covered for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
Chicken: This is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken, which is what I usually do. Whenever I make chicken broth or Mulukhiya, I save some of the shredded chicken and chicken broth and use it in this dish. If you don’t have any cooked chicken, it’s easy enough to make!
Place your chicken pieces (skin removed) in a large pot. They can be all bone in chicken breasts, whole chicken pieces, or even boneless chicken breasts. Cover with water and add aromatics like whole cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves, and I like adding an onion cut into wedges.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Some foam will accumulate on the surface, just skim that off and discard (you can keep doing this throughout the cooking process).
Simmer until chicken is cooked through- depending on the top of chicken you are using, it’ll take a different amount of time. I like a low and slow cooking process with bone in chicken, at least a good hour or so.
Once chicken is cooked, remove to the side, and drain the stock through a colander. You can use the broth in the dish, and once the chicken cools, shred it to use also!
I have a full tutorial on making chicken stock here, and I like making big batches and freezing it to use in dishes like this.
Garlic Yogurt: Simple mix together plain yogurt (regular, not Greek style) with crushed garlic -amount to your taste, salt and fresh lemon juice. You can also a drizzle of some tahini too which gives a great rich flavor.
Garnishes: Toasted nuts are essential in my opinion. I do pine nuts, slivered almonds or whole skinless almonds, or a mix. Chopped parsley also gives great flavor and color, as well as a few sprinkles of paprika powder and dried mint.
How to prepare the fatteh:
Once all your individual components are ready, assembling is a breeze.
Keep in mind, fatteh is definitely best prepared fresh right before serving. Any earlier and the bread gets too soggy, and the yogurt starts to dry up and congeal.
I actually really prefer crispy bread to soggy broth soaked bread, so I have a little trick I do. Traditionally, bread is always the base layer of fatteh, and everything else goes on top.
I like to flip the order. I pour the shredded chicken and broth over the rice (broth soaked rice is delicious!), then top with the garlic yogurt sauce, THEN the toasted bread, and all the garnishes. That’s just my preference but feel free to do it the classic way!
Tips and tricks for the best ever fatteh:
Have your ingredients toasted in advance- the bread, the nuts. It’ll make it really easy when it comes time to assemble
You can mix up the yogurt in advance with the garlic, salt and lemon and store it in the fridge for a couple hours. This really infuses it with the garlic flavor.
Make this vegetarian! Swap out the chicken for roasted eggplant cubes, or whole chickpeas.
Similarly, you can try using beef mince or lamb mince if you have any leftover. Check out this post for Middle Eastern style lamb mince.
- 1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed and shredded, or 1 whole chicken cut into pieces boiled or 4 bone in chicken breasts boiled see the post for instructions on boiling the chicken
- 2 cups chicken broth (from the boiled chicken, or store-bought chicken stock or 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in water)
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 2 loaves pita bread, cut into cubes
- 3 cups yogurt
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- squeeze lemon juice
- 1 cup cooked rice
- dried mint and paprika
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or almond slivers, toasted
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- Prepare the chicken by either shredding ready cooked chicken, or boiling raw chicken pieces in a large pot of water until cooked, then shredding (with aromatics like a cinnamon stick, a couple bay leaves, whole cloves, cardamom pods and I like to add an onion sliced into wedges). Warm the chicken broth in a small saucepan, and add the cooked shredded chicken to the broth, and keep it on low heat until serving so the chicken warms through.
- Meanwhile, toast the pita bread in the oven by placing in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, and drizzling well with olive oil and tossing to combine. Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, and set aside.
- Mix together the yogurt with the crushed garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Stir well to combine.
- Assemble by placing the rice in the base of a deep serving dish. Pour the chicken broth over the top, and scatter the shredded chicken evenly. Dollop the garlic yogurt on top and smooth out, then top with the crispy pita bread. Garnish with dried mint, paprika, and generously with chopped parsley and toasted nuts.
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