Food is a big deal in our culture, we love to eat, and eating together as a family does not only feed the tummy but also good for the soul.
My mother used to make this dish on a Sunday when my dad is off from work and we didn’t have school so we can sit and eat this meal together. The reason is, that this dish is served in a large rounded serving plate/tray and once prepped it has to be served, different than other dishes that you can reheat and do not need such preparation.
My memories of this dish was that my late father loved to sit in the veranda (a glass sunroom) in a cold winter sunny day, and we all sit around a small table bundled up in our small veranda heated by the sun coming through the glass windows, enjoying this delicious meal.
So here is how to make fattet dajaj: First, chicken needs to be cooked separately, boil the chicken with water, I'm using two breast chickens with bones, I take skin out prior to boiling and fill the pot with water, add 2 cardamoms seeds or/and 1 stick of cinnamon to keep the flavor of the waters taste good. With pot uncovered, once it starts boiling, turn the heat on medium, continue boiling uncovered for about 30, and until chicken is tender. Set aside for chicken to cool off. Keep broth because part of it is needed later. Once the chicken is cooled off, take bones out and cut the chicken into medium size pieces.
Meanwhile, make plain white rice per bag instructions. Crush garlic, juice lemon, toast bread, roast nuts. Garlic and lemon juice can be mixed together.
In a rounded shape large serving plate or tray, cut toasted bread into small pieces and spread around the plate, pour about half a cup of chicken broth with half of the amount of lemon and garlic, add salt if not added earlier to the broth. Smash/mix everything together until bread is softened. Bring in the rice and cover over the bread in a layer shape. Mix chicken with the rest of lemon and garlic then spread the chicken over the rice add salt more salt if needed. Top it off with nuts (optional) in this case I like to use pine and walnuts which are previously roasted.
- 2 breast chicken with bones
- ½ cup of chicken broth
- 3 cups of water
- 2 cardamom seeds
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 cup of cooked while plain rice
- 1-2 pita bread lightly toasted and cut into small pieces
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 2-3 lemons
- nuts (optional)
- In a large pot place chicken breast and cover with water, add cardamom seeds and cinnamon stick. Let it boil on high heat uncovered, then turn heat into medium and let it cook for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
- Set aside to cool off, once cooled off take the chicken bone out and cut the chicken into medium size pieces.
- Make plain rice based on bag instructions.
- Crush garlic and juice lemon and have it ready. Roast nuts.
- In a large serving plate, place toasted bread and pour chicken broth, salt, garlic and lemon, smash/mix together. Then pour over the rice over the bread and spread in a layer shape. Mix the chicken with the rest of the lemon and garlic, add more salt if needed and spread on top of rice, then spread the roasted nuts.
Served hot with a side of plain yogurt.
This recipe is enough for 4 people.