Zataar Fatayir

These Zataar Fatayir are the perfect breakfast.  They are perfect silken layers of soft bread, sweet onions and flavourful zataar.  Large enough to really fill you up for the day and convenient enough to chomp on while reading the news and sipping your sweet minty tea.

When I was managing programmes in Palestine, I would go on lots of field visits.  One of my favourite trips would be to go and visit Bedouin community in Al Rashayda in the desert just east of Bethlehem with the YMCA.  We would get up early and be on our way in the car while the sun was still coming up.  I would often have a hot water bottle under my jacket, waiting for the sun to come up and warm us all up.  To prepare us for the hours of driving through valleys and up mountains and completely off-road we would stop by a bakery selling these warm, pillowly zataar Fatayir.  They would help keep us warm and fill us up on the long journey.  I remember that once we made it to the desert, we would sometimes spend a long time trying to locate the community we were supporting as they may have moved for shelter, water or grazing.  Once we were there we were treated with unparalleled hospitality and lots of yoghurt- all Palestinians know that the best yoghurt comes from the Bedouin whose primary income comes from sheep and products from their milk.  The last time I was there, I was 7 months pregnant with Otis and I saw another woman there also about 7 months pregnant.  Thinking of all the medical and emotional support I had received, I asked her what access to medical care she had.  My eyes filled with tears as she told me about the miles she walked for the one check-up she had a few months ago.  I refused to let my warm tears fall, but it had quite an effect on me and I still think of her now, especially when I eat these fatayir.

When I made these today, my mother came into the kitchen beaming, lured by the smell of zataar which had floated down the corridor.  She was looking to see if one had over-browned in the oven and was therefore fair picking, and luckily for us both there was.



500g plain flour

1 teaspoon yeast

½ teaspoon sugar

1-2 cups warm water

Extra virgin olive oil



Dried baladi thyme (you can also use fresh thyme)

2 red onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sumac

Pinch salt

2 good glugs of extra virgin olive oil



  • Preheat oven to 260c
  • Combine the flour, yeast and sugar then slowly add the water and knead into a smooth but slightly tacky dough
  • Roll the dough into a ball and coat with olive oil and place in an oiled bowl and leave covered in a warm place for 30 minutes
  • Mix the filling ingredients and set aside to assemble the bread.
  • Divide the proven bread into six, flattening one piece at a time into a round circle on an oiled surface.
  • In a line down the middle add some mixture, then fold over one side.
  • Add more mixture and fold the other side in
  • Add some mixture and fold the top down
  • Add more mixture the fold the bottom up
  • Flatten and spread a bit with your hands, then leave to rest for 10-15 minutes
  • Re-flatten each one until they are as thin as you can get them and put them in the oven
  • Bake for 8 minutes
  • Serve warm with labna and oil.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s