Isn’t it funny how things you do in a hurry without much thought or preparation turn out so good, but a lot of stuff that you plan too much for and labour over doesn’t turn out as expected? The fatayer would have to fall in the previous category. Even before I knew it, the weekend before Navratri was upon us. This nine-day festival is a celebration of women power, depicted by female Goddesses, notably Durga, Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth) and Saraswati (the Goddess of knowledge).
In the southern states of India, the festival is celebrated in a unique way – odd-numbered steps are set up and lined up with dolls depicting religious stories as well as scenes from everyday life. Called Golu or kolu in Tamil Nadu, the festival sees womenfolk invite friends and family to their homes to see their golu and distribute sundal, which is basically, cooked whole beans, peas and lentil that is briefly sautéed in oil with tempered mustard seeds and coconut and/or black gram, green/red chillies and raw green mango.
But wait, lest I venture into a full-fledged lecture on kolu and fool you into thinking that you’ll be rewarded with sundal recipes for your perseverance, let me remind you that this post is about the Turkish fatayer. Coming back to the story, I’d planned out my weekend schedule that included the three of the six dishes that were yet to be prepared for the coming week’s alphabets (I am blogging alphabetically this month along with other blogger friends, stopping by at different countries – virtually – to sample their cuisine).
It was only that Saturday morning when I was measuring out the yeast for this dish, when ma-in-law reminded me it was high time that I get on to the task of planning where and how we would set up the golu! And so, while one would think I’d ditch my bread-baking activities and get on to the task at hand, I ended up cleaning up all the golu items in between the dough rises, much to the consternation of my hubby and ma. The work got done – both, the bread as well as the golu work – the latter, mostly thanks to efforts from the hubby-ma duo. Well, a couple of days later I did make up for the lack of my presence on the golu front by setting up all the dolls on the mini golu that we’ve organised this year.
The Turkish fatayer got my attention in brief spans, in between cleaning up the golu dolls. All I remember was that millet flour was probably not the best addition to the whole wheat dough I kneaded up, part of which I used for the fatayer. I used the remaining dough for a loaf of round braided savoury challah. I’d also made another multigrain loaf along with all of this. The braiding itself was quite challenging and the non-glutinous millet flour didn’t make matters any easier. The fatayer, though, were a breeze to shape and fun to eat too. That it was downright tasty combined with the fact that it was 100% whole grain (75% whole wheat and 25% mixed millet flour) and filled with equally healthy spinach stuffing made things even more wonderful.
My only complaint was that they didn’t brown too well. Maybe I didn’t bake them enough? Or was it because I forgot to add the sugar to the dough? Or because I forgot the milk wash? With the way things were that day, it could have been any combination of these or something altogether different! Oh wait! I’d also added a good dash of turmeric, some chopped green chillies and dried fenugreek leaves to Indianise the flavours a bit. Could the turmeric have been the culprit? Whatever be the reason, these were damn delicious and I’d probably figure out the answer the next time I bake them!
I referred to this recipe for the dough and this one to make and shape the fatayer. I scaled it down to a quarter of the original recipe and gave it an Indian flavour by adding some turmeric powder, chopped green chillies and dried fenugreek leaves. I used a combination of 75% whole wheat flour and 25% mixed millet flour to make the dough.
For more recipes from countries starting with the letter T, check out this link: