FATTEH WITH CUMIN CHICKPEAS & TAHINI YOGURT: IMMIGRANT FOOD STORIES.
I first met Eyad Houssami at a time when we had the privilege of seamlessly interweaving life and art: In college. We threw hefty doses of youthful political angst in for good measure, and looked to radical forebears to show us the way to wholeness through artistic expression. After college, Eyad and I rarely spoke. But sometime in 2015, an incredibly kind email zinged into my inbox: Eyad had printed out three Kale & Caramel recipes to make, remarking that many of the flavors I used reminded him of his current home (Beirut, Lebanon). And thus began a pitter patter of emails back and forth about pomegranate molasses, dates, and yogurt. Eyad sent beautiful pictures of the roasted kabocha fennel soup, sprinkled with a dukkah more legit than I could ever dream of making.
And so, when my friend Kimberley Hasselbrink brought a group of food writers together to share immigrant food stories in response to the executive order that’s become commonly known as the “Muslim ban”, I immediately thought of Eyad, of pomegranate molasses, of those foods native to him that have become so much a part of my life. Lucky for us, Eyad agreed to an interview. I thought I’d let him speak for himself, and for the dish I’m sharing today: Fatteh, layers of toasted pita with cumin-fried chickpeas, garlicky tahini yogurt, and ghee-toasted pine nuts. Eyad wrote to me from airports in Berlin and Istanbul, traveling home from auditioning refugees for a theatrical production he’ll tell you more about below.
Read more and get the recipe here.