Let's Go: Can I Make Spinach Sfiha / Fatayer (Spinach Pastry Triangle)?
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
For Spinach Day, I wanted to make something more exotic than my usual spinach dip (link) or creamy spinach I make. I actually eat spinach fairly frequently -- one of my fav frozen foods & a way to sneak in veggies (haha! - see link).
I decided to make this Spinach Sfiha video I remember seeing, which is a Middle Eastern pastry. When I was looking up sfiha on Google, it turns out that maybe fatayer are maybe actually spinach pies and sfiha is the term typically used for meat pies. Either way, they both look good and this one is sort of like a cousin of a spanokopita, which is a Greek spinach pastry you might be more familiar with. The dough here is thicker, so it's also like an empanada. There are a lot of similarities in different international cuisines. :)
Here is a post on empanadas and I made a quick version of Filipino Chicken Empanadas too.
Fatayer are a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. When they are filled with spinach they are called Fatayer sabanekh or Fatayer Bi Sabanikh.
"Fatayer (Arabic: فطاير) is a Middle Eastern meat pie that can alternatively be stuffed with spinach (Arabic: سبانخ), or cheese (Arabic: جبنه) such as Feta or Akkawi. It is part of Levantine cuisine and is eaten in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel."
This vegetablefacts.net website has some interesting facts on the history of spinach. For example,
"Spinach's place of origin is ancient Persia or today's Iran and surrounding countries. From there it crossed into India, but it is not known who brought it there. Ancient Chinese got it from India and gave it a name “Persian vegetable”. There we find the first written mentioning of the spinach which says that it came to China via Nepal somewhere around the year 647. Saracens (which was how Europeans called Muslims during the later medieval era) brought spinach to Sicily in the year 827."
There's a lot more, but fast forward 700 years...:)
"When Catherine de' Medici became queen of France in 1533, spinach again gained in popularity. She liked it so much that she ordered it prepared for every meal. Catherine de' Medici was born in Florence and because of that, even today, cuisines made with spinach are known as “Florentine.”
- Eaten raw or cooked and is available fresh, frozen or canned.
- One of the best sources of iron.
- An excellent source of calcium, folic acid, fiber, protein, calcium and vitamins A, C and K.
- Is loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants
- Believed to help improve cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.
Our research was unable to find the origin and the creator of National Spinach Day.
I made a half-batch, so I did half of these ingredients below with some substitutions. They use soybean oil, but I just used olive oil. Instead of fresh spinach, I used frozen spinach. I also used garlic spread because there was no garlic at the store. There weren't any onions at the store either. Struggle times.
- 0.35 ounces dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1.7 ounces sugar
- 17.6 ounces flour
- 3 1/3 tablespoon soybean oil
- 1 minced onion
- 2 minced cloves of garlic
- 14 ounces minced spinach leaves
- 3 1/3 ounces ricotta
I put the yeast, water and sugar together and let that little science experiment sit for 10 min. :)
In the bigger mixing bowl, I put the flour in there. And this was interesting and similar to making fresh pasta, which I have made to make raviolo (see links), you make a little well in the middle and put your wet ingredients in the middle and bring it together.
Here is the little hole in the middle and me pouring the wet ingredients (oil and yeast, sugar & water mixture)
In a separate bowl, I microwaved some frozen spinach and add some ricotta cheese and garlic spread, salt & pepper
Putting it Together
Then I made little circles of dough, put some spinach filling in and then folded them into te little triangles. It's fun folding tghe dough into the triangles. :)
I baked them at 420 degrees for about 20 min.
RESULT: Success! :)
We are good at this! I was pleasantly surprised when they came out of the oven. They looked pretty much like a lot of the pictures I've seen. They tasted good too!
They are pretty easy thing to bake actually. There is no kneading or anything after you let the yeast sit initially. If you want to take a trip to the Middle East, I suggest you make this tasty treat!
Give it a try! We are good at this!