Recipe for peace: Tes'iyeh (SYRIA)

As part of our Recipes for Peace series, each week we feature an inspiring dish to celebrate the varied - and tasty - ways in which food can play a role in building peace.

This week’s recipe comes from Syrian-born Lina Khattab, who is passionate about cooking and focuses particularly on traditional Arabic food. 

Lina Khattab’s tes’iyeh recipe (SYRIA)

Tes’iyeh (chickpeas fatteh) is a typical Damascene dish, but you also find it around Syria and in the Levant. It was my favourite dish as a child and I would always get very excited when my mum made it on special occasions.

I spent my childhood in beautiful Beirut of the late 1960s and early 1970s. When the civil war broke out in 1975, we left to live in Vienna, Austria, where I still live today with my husband and children. For me, tes’iyeh is a dish that I associate with my city of origin, Damascus, but also with the more peaceful times during my childhood.

Ingredients (serves 6-8 people)

  • 200g dry chickpeas
  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • 3-4 white bread buns or 2-3 flatbreads (depending on size)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Handful of pine nuts and/or peeled almonds
  • To decorate: parsley, paprika powder and pomegranates

Cooking instructions

  • Soak the chickpeas in water overnight in a bowl.
  • The next day, drain the water out. Put the chickpeas in a pot, add fresh water and cook on medium to high heat. Add ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, stir, and reduce the heat. Leave to simmer between 2-4 hours on the low heat.
  • Cut the white bread buns or flatbreads in small cubes. Lay the bread cubes to cover a flat dish.
  • Mix garlic, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Add 500 g of yoghurt and stir. Add two tablespoons of tahini and mix well.
  • After 2-4 hours, check that chickpeas are soft. Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt and stir. Soak the bread cubes with the warm water of the chickpeas. Then, pour a layer of chickpeas on top. Then add a layer of the yoghurt mixture.
  • Melt two tablespoons of butter and quickly fry pine nuts or peeled almonds, then pour on the yoghurt. Decorate with parsley, paprika powder.
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes.

Follow Lina’s Instagram LinasFancyFood and get inspired by pictures her of delicious homemade dishes.