I started a series “Arabic cuisine” featuring my traditional food. Today the dish is Arabic Spinach pastries (Fatayer Sbankh)
The Arabic pastries are very popular back home. People have it for breakfasts, lunch, or dinner, and they serve in women’s gatherings, picnics, lunch invitations, and weddings too.
To be true and honest, I didn’t like them so much, even I used to love the spinach stew with lamb meat (I don’t anymore). But after I started this series, and creating other recipes, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try new items. Even the ones, I used to hate like eggplant, and spinach in pastries.
These are one of my sister’s favorite pastries, and since they are full of filling, and have rich flavor, you don’t taste the dough as much as other pastries. I remember mom making them mostly for my sister, and my father, I was in favor for white cheese ones!
These pastries are easy to make, mostly people prepare them ahead, and freeze them in spring season, which is spinach season back Home. So usually house wives got large amounts of spinach, and start prepping them.
I’ve mentioned the health benefits of spinach before when I compared it to kale , it does contains high amounts of vitamins, and minerals. It can can be eaten raw or cooked, it is much better when it’s cooked.
Just you should know, even if spinach has good amounts of calcium, it does have a compound called oxalate that bind with calcium, and inhibit its absorption . Therefore, it is good if you can have spinach with other calcium rich food, so oxalate will bind to the calcium from other resources.
For iron, phytates a non-nutrient compounds exists in spinach, can inhibit iron absorption by 80%, but adding citric acid like lemon juice can counteract this effect. So remember to add lemon juice every time you eat spinach, or other food items that has citric acid like some berries, strawberries, and blackberries.
Is a a spice extracted from some kind of berries, its very popular in Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine. It has a tangy flavor, and its aromatic, it does have great health benefits and potential antioxidant role, yet not all benefits are conclusive.
It may be hard to find sumac, but it gives theses pastries a distinctive flavor. You can find it in middle eastern shops or here is the brand I love and trust.
I was surprised but how they come out, soft, fluffy with a great flavor, I even regretted not making them before!
The process of folding the dough is very relaxing. It me feel like eternity if you are not fan of doing such a work, but it’s a great activity when you can have a company to help you, and to have little, or serious chat! I hope you enjoy making these pastries as I did!
Now lets get to the recipe!
- 1.5 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1.5 Tb Dried Milk
- 4 Tb Yogurt
- 2 Tb Vegetable Oil
- 0.5 Tb Yeast
- 1 Tb Baking Powder
- Pinch of Salt
- Warm water, about half cup
- Spinach Filling:
- 1 small Onion (Red would be great, but yellow is fine)
- lemon juice of 1 medium lemon
- 8 oz of Spinach
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 T Olive Oil
- Optional but recommended:
- 1 Tb of Sumac spice
- Combine dry ingredient together.
- Now make a hole, and start adding wet ingredient slowly.
- Knead at least 15 minutes, and set the dough aside for couple of hours in a warm setting.
- Preheat the oven at 400 f, use non stick baking sheets, or use an oil spray, or just grease the sheet it with vegetable oil lightly.
- Now start make small pastries and put them on baking sheet, and let it rest
- Now prepare the filing, cut the spinach coarsely, and dice the onion in very small pieces
- Now add oil, spices, and lemon to the filling.
- Before you start adding filling squeeze it well, and then put it in the center of the dough
- Make a triangle shape, by pulling the two upper sides, then grab the bottom over.
- Put in the oven on medium rack, or even the bottom, but keep an eye on them.
- Broil them for 3 minutes to have a nice brown color
- Serve them hot or cold.
You can use a food processor for preparing spinach and onion but I don't recommend it.
You can use a milk or egg wash to brush the dough. It's not necessary but it gives the dough a nice color and make it crispier.
Keep any leftover in an air tight container.