90-Minute Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

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Fatay, also known as Fatayer, is a Middle Eastern Spiced Beef empanada that can alternatively be stuffed with spinach and Feta or, Akkawi cheese. It is part of Levantine cuisine consumed in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. In Paraguay and Argentina, Fatayer is also popular as a variety of empanada, called empanada árabe. Here’s our recipe for this delicacy that you can prepare at home to surprise your family and friends with this classic Arabian cuisine!

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

Traditional Fatay is filled with raw meat that has been seasoned with spices and lime juice; the acidic lime juice begins “pre-cook” the meat, as it does when used for ceviche. But don’t panic, we are not eating raw meat here! After marinating it, it goes into the oven, and there comes the actual cooking, so it will be fully cooked when it comes out of the oven.

Another way that you can also do, which is a little bit non-traditional, is to cook the meat filling before stuffing the fatay— we like this method better because it allows controlling the meat juices better by first cooking them off. So, in conclusion, both ways are delicious, but if you are uncomfortable making the traditional way using raw meat, don’t worry because, in our Fatay recipe, we will show you how to make it both ways.

What is Fatay?

Fatay, also known as Fatayer, is a Middle Eastern Spiced Beef empanada (or pie) that can alternatively be stuffed with spinach and Feta or, Akkawi cheese. They’re also pretty different than traditional empanadas:

  • They are triangle-shaped, with a portion of the filling visible in the center.
  • The filling is traditionally made with raw ground beef or lamb; bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes are also used for the filling mixture.
  • It is typically flavored with Baharak spice, paprika, black pepper, cumin, nutmeg, and Pomegranate molasses.

Origin of Fatay (or, Fatayer)?

Its precise origin is uncertain, although it is thought to have emerged a few centuries before Christ in the Mediterranean’s Levantine regions. 

What are the main ingredients for Fatay?

  • Ground beef: 90/10 ground beef
  • Fresh Onion, Garlic, Green Onion, Bell peppers, & Tomatoes:In a Fatay mixture, these are a must-have. You can omit if you have to, but there will be a significant flavor loss.
  • Tomato paste: To enrich the tomato flavor.
  • Juice and zest from lemons or lime: It helps brings the flavor together.
  • Fresh mint leaves or Italian parsley leaves: It adds flavor.
  • Seasoning:Ground black pepper, Kosher salt, Ground cumin, Sweet paprika, Crushed red pepper flakes, freshly grated nutmeg, and Baharat spice or allspice. Adjust to taste.
  • Pomegranate Molasses: It Brings a tangy-sweet flavor to the meat mixture.
  • Water: Make sure it is at (120º – 130º F)
  • Instant dry yeast: Use for leavening.
  • Bread Flour: This is one of the main ingredients in fatay, and the type you use can significantly affect the result: All-purpose flour will work fine, but if you want a sturdier and better structure, you should consider buying yourself some high-protein bread flour.
  • Pine nuts, roasted: To give it crunchy touch.

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

How do you make Fatay from scratch?

  • Make the dough: Divide the dough into 24 equal parts, rolling each piece into a ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for an additional 30 minutes or until doubled or wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Make the filling: Prepare the Fatay filling according to the recipe.
  • Assemble: Roll out the dough into a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border, then shape it.
  • Bake:Place the Fatay in the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until the Fatay is golden brown. Serve the Fatay hot and with lemon wedges for an extra zing. Enjoy!

How to Store and Re-heat Fatay

Cooked Fatay can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag for three days.

Microwave the Fatay for 10 to 15 seconds or until warmed through. You can also reheat them for 5-8 minutes in a preheated oven at 400 degrees.

What to serve with Fatay?

They pair very well with Garden salad and a glass of Coke or ice-cold Beer.😏

How do you fold Fatay?

Roll out the dough into a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Pinch together the four edges of the circle to form a square shape, leaving the center exposed.

4 Easy ways to Shape Fatay or, Fatayer: 

  1. For a visible meat filling:Roll out the dough into a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Pinch together the four edges of the circle to form a square shape, leaving the center exposed.
  2. For a boat shape:Roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch oval shape. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Fold one edge of the dough diagonally and press it gently to seal it properly. Repeat the process with the other edge leaving an opening in the center to create a boat shape.
  3. For a non-visible meat filling: Roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Pinch together three edges of the circle over the center of the filling. Seal down one side, then cross the other to form a pyramid shape.
  4. For Circle Fatay:Roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch circle. Arrange the circles on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or lightly brushed with oil. Then, spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving a 1-1/4 inch border.

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

Can I Freeze Fatay?

Make the Fatay as directed in the recipe (remember that the Fatay needs to be cooked and cool before freezing).

As soon as the Fatay are cooked, place them side by side on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them cool completely. Make sure they don’t touch. If they touch, the fatay will freeze together and be difficult to separate without damaging the crust. Once, cooled freeze them for 2 to 3 hours, or until solid.

Eat the Fatay within 2 months of the date of freezing. Bake the Fatay in a 425°F preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until golden on top (without defrosting).

Tips to Make The BEST Fatay

  • Keep in mind that moisture should be kept to minimum when making beef fatay or other fillings.
  • The spices you use will determine the flavor of the fatay. To increase the complexity of the taste, choose a savory, well-balanced combination. Cumin, for example, can be used to season savory empanadas. This spice will add a great flavor to the empanada, but be careful with the amount you use because it may have a counterproductive effect.
  • Before assembling your beef fatay, make sure the filling has cooled. Steam from a hot or warm filling can make your pastry soggy, causing it to fall apart.
  • Using bread flours creates the perfect fatay dough texture giving you a sturdier and better structure, while using all-purpose ensures a crisp, light edge.

More Empanadas Recipes:

Yield: about 24 Fatay | Total Time: 60 minutes

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

What you will need for this Fatay Filling:

  • 1kg  90/10 ground beef
  • 400g ( about 3 medium) onions, finely diced
  • 100g ( 2 medium) red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 100g (2 medium) green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 200g Roma tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 green onion, finely chopped
  • 80g ( about 6 tablespoons) tomato paste
  • Juice and zest from of 2 to 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped fresh mint leaves or Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon Baharat spice or allspice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 cup Pine nuts, roasted (optional)

For the Fatay dough:

  • 560 ml of water (120º – 130º F)
  • 6 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 14 g instant dry yeast
  • 20g sugar
  • 1kg (1000 g) bread flour or all-purpose flour 
  • 15g. Kosher salt

How to Make Fatay “Empanadas Arabes”

Traditional Fatay filling: Make sure to drain off the juices released by the meat when filling.

In a large non-reactive bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, bell peppers, green onion, garlic, paprika, tomato paste, tomato, pomegranate molasses, and lemon juice. Add the chopped mint leaves or parsley and spices. Using a wooden spatula or your hands, gently mix the ground beef, vegetables, and spices until well combined. Don’t over mix the meat! Store the meat filling, covered tightly, in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.

Non-Traditional Fatay Filling: This way allows you to control the meat juices by first cooking them off.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the beef, and salt cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break the meat into pieces until the beef is browned,  7 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and tomatoes; cook, stirring until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

Next, stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Next, add the sweet paprika, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, cumin, nutmeg, Baharat spice; cook, frequently stirring, for another minute. Finally, stir in the lime juice and pomegranate molasses and cook for another 10 minutes to eliminate any excess liquid (the mixture should be moist but not runny. That’s the trick). Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

How to make Fatay dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine bread flour, sugar, and yeast on medium speed until thoroughly blended.

Stir the warm water, olive oil, and salt in a large measuring cup until the salt dissolves completely. While the mixer is running, add the warm wet mixture and knead until the dough starts to pull away from the sides but remains soft and slightly sticky at the bottom of the bowl. 

Coat your hands in a bit of olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a bowl that is coated in olive oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and proof the dough in a warm place until it doubles in size.

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

Punch down the dough to remove all air bubbles. Lightly oil (2) 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Transfer the dough to a work surface and cut into 90g equal pieces, about 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball. Transfer the dough balls to the prepared pan, spacing them evenly (rolls will touch once they have risen).

Cover and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 20 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can place them in the refrigerator for a slower rise.

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

How to Assemble & Bake Fatay:

Position 2 racks in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Remove the meat filling from the refrigerator. If you’re using raw meat filling:Drain off the juices released by the meat. 

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

Roll out the dough into a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the meat mixture and lightly press them to adhere.Then, proceed with the folding (or shaping). See above on How to Shape the Fatay.👆

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

Place the Fatay in the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until the Fatay is golden brown. Serve the Fatay hot and with lemon wedges for an extra zing. Enjoy!

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes

Notes:

  • Keep in mind that moisture should be kept to minimum when making beef fatay or other fillings.
  • The spices you use will determine the flavor of the fatay. To increase the complexity of the taste, choose a savory, well-balanced combination. Cumin, for example, can be used to season savory empanadas. This spice will add a great flavor to the empanada, but be careful with the amount you use because it may have a counterproductive effect.
  • Before assembling your beef fatay, make sure the filling has cooled. Steam from a hot or warm filling can make your pastry soggy, causing it to fall apart.
  • Using bread flours creates the perfect fatay dough texture giving you a sturdier and better structure, while using all-purpose ensures a crisp, light edge.
  • Try adding pitted chopped green olives, scallions,  seedless raisins, or capers.
  • I added red pepper flakes for a little bit of a kick; if you don’t like spice, feel free to omit.
  • Four different ways to Shape Fatay: For a visible meat filling, roll out the dough into a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Pinch together the four edges of the circle to form a square shape, leaving the center exposed. For a boat shape, roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch oval shape. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Fold one edge of the dough diagonally and press it gently to seal it properly. Repeat the process with the other edge leaving an opening in the center to create a boat shape. For a non-visible meat filling, roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Pinch together three edges of the circle over the center of the filling. Seal down one side, then cross the other to form a pyramid shape. For Circle Fatay, roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch circle. Arrange the circles on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or lightly brushed with oil. Then, spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving a 1-1/4 inch border.

90 Minutes Healthy Fatay | Empanadas Árabes


“Verses of the Day”

Don't Be Afraid
'Remember that I have told you this: Be strong and do not be afraid. Do not be weak but be brave. I, the Lord your God, will be with you, everywhere that you go.’
Joshua 1:9
I trust God to keep me safe
'The Lord is my light and my salvation— Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life— Whom shall I dread? '
Psalms 27:1
More Than Conquerors
'No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. I am sure of this. Nothing can stop God from loving us.
Romans 8:37-39
God takes care of his people
'Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. '
Psalms 23:4
God is a safe place
'Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. '
Psalms 91:1
Love in Action
'Do not let evil things win against you! Instead, do good things. Then you will win against the evil things that people do.'
Romans 12:21
Rescue Me, Lord!
'The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me; My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge; My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold. '
Psalms 18:2
A Living Sacrifice
'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. '
Romans 12:2
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Fatay

Fatay, also known as Fatayer, is a Middle Eastern Spiced Beef empanada that can alternatively be stuffed with spinach and Feta or, Akkawi cheese. It is part of Levantine cuisine consumed in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. In Paraguay and Argentina, Fatayer is also popular as a variety of empanada, called empanada árabe. Here's our recipe for this delicacy that you can prepare at home to surprise your family and friends with this classic Arabian cuisine!
Servings 24 Fatay
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins

Equipment

  • Baking  Sheet
  • Rolling Pin
  • Large Pot

Ingredients

For this Fatay Filling:

  • 1 kg 90/10 ground beef
  • 400 g ( about 3 medium) onions, finely diced
  • 100 g ( 2 medium) red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 100 g (2 medium) green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 200 g Roma tomatoes , deseeded and finely diced
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves , finely minced
  • 4 green onion , finely chopped
  • 80 g ( about 6 tablespoons) tomato paste
  • Juice and zest from of 2 to 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped fresh mint leaves or Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt , to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon Baharat spice or allspice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses , adjust to taste
  • 1/2 cup Pine nuts , roasted (optional)

For the Fatay dough:

  • 560 ml of water (120º - 130º F)
  • 6 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 14 g instant dry yeast
  • 20 g sugar
  • 1 kg (1000 g) bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 15 g. Kosher salt

Instructions

  • Traditional Fatay filling: Make sure to drain off the juices released by the meat when filling.
  • In a large non-reactive bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, bell peppers, green onion, garlic, paprika, tomato paste, tomato, pomegranate molasses, and lemon juice. Add the chopped mint leaves or parsley and spices. Using a wooden spatula or your hands, gently mix the ground beef, vegetables, and spices until well combined. Don’t over mix the meat! Store the meat filling, covered tightly, in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.
  • Non-Traditional Fatay Filling: This way allows you to control the meat juices by first cooking them off.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the beef, and salt cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break the meat into pieces until the beef is browned,  7 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and tomatoes; cook, stirring until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Next, stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Next, add the sweet paprika, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, cumin, nutmeg, Baharat spice; cook, frequently stirring, for another minute. Finally, stir in the lime juice and pomegranate molasses and cook for another 10 minutes to eliminate any excess liquid (the mixture should be moist but not runny. That’s the trick). Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

How to make Fatay dough:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine bread flour, sugar, and yeast on medium speed until thoroughly blended.
  • Stir the warm water, olive oil, and salt in a large measuring cup until the salt dissolves completely. While the mixer is running, add the warm wet mixture and knead until the dough starts to pull away from the sides but remains soft and slightly sticky at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Coat your hands in a bit of olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a bowl that is coated in olive oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and proof the dough in a warm place until it doubles in size.
  • Punch down the dough to remove all air bubbles. Lightly oil (2) 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Transfer the dough to a work surface and cut into 90g equal pieces, about 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball. Transfer the dough balls to the prepared pan, spacing them evenly (rolls will touch once they have risen). Cover and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 20 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can place them in the refrigerator for a slower rise.

How to Assemble & Bake Fatay:

  • Position 2 racks in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Remove the meat filling from the refrigerator. If you're using raw meat filling:Drain off the juices released by the meat.
  • Roll out the dough into a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the meat mixture and lightly press them to adhere.Then, proceed with the folding (or shaping). See above on How to Shape the Fatay.👆
  • Place the Fatay in the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until the Fatay is golden brown. Serve the Fatay hot and with lemon wedges for an extra zing. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Keep in mind that moisture should be kept to a minimum when making beef fatay or other fillings.
  • The spices you use will determine the flavor of the fatay. To increase the complexity of the taste, choose a savory, well-balanced combination. Cumin, for example, can be used to season savory empanadas. This spice will add a great flavor to the empanada, but be careful with the amount you use because it may have a counterproductive effect.
  • Before assembling your beef fatay, make sure the filling has cooled. Steam from a hot or warm filling can make your pastry soggy, causing it to fall apart.
  • Using bread flours creates the perfect fatay dough texture giving you a sturdier and better structure, while using all-purpose ensures a crisp, light edge.
  • Try adding pitted chopped green olives, scallions,  seedless raisins, or capers.
  • I added red pepper flakes for a little bit of a kick; if you don’t like spice, feel free to omit.
  • Four different ways to Shape Fatay: For a visible meat filling, roll out the dough into a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Pinch together the four edges of the circle to form a square shape, leaving the center exposed. For a boat shape, roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch oval shape. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Fold one edge of the dough diagonally and press it gently to seal it properly. Repeat the process with the other edge leaving an opening in the center to create a boat shape. For a non-visible meat filling, roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch circle. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving about a 1-1/4 inch border. Pinch together three edges of the circle over the center of the filling. Seal down one side, then cross the other to form a pyramid shape. For Circle Fatay, roll out the dough to a 7 to 8-inch circle. Arrange the circles on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or lightly brushed with oil. Then, spread 2 to 3 tablespoons (about 90g) of filling in the middle, leaving a 1-1/4 inch border.
Author: Camila Benitez
Calories: 350kcal
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Arabian
Keyword: Fatay, Fatayer

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