Hands Up Foundation is now Action Syria


Hands Up’s regular blogger, Melie Pemberton, a teacher currently living in Beirut, has sent us her next update. Melie explains about the deep entrenchment of Syrians and their food, as well as sharing a recipe for all to enjoy!

Although not a fan of stereotyping, I can’t help but acknowledge that I am yet to come across a Syrian who does not fit into the category of being incredibly friendly, generous and welcoming. As a result of this, I can say with absolute certainty that all Syrians are feeders (demonstrated by the expansion of my stomach). Having been privileged enough to be invited into their homes a number of times for food, I have developed a deep love for Levantine cuisine…and a tendency to overuse some necessary Arabic words and phrases (khalas – enough, karrouche – belly, and shabaanee – I’m full!!).

A dish that has become a firm favourite, ordered at every opportunity, is the irresistible hummus fatteh! You cannot go to the Levant without experiencing it.

There are many variations of this dish, but the ever-so-simple recipe, that I have included below, was cooked for us last week by Tarek, our lovely friend from Aleppo. He was excited at the prospect of it being shared with you all!

Hummus Fatteh

Serves:  6 people eaten with bread as part of a mezza or as a starter. 

Layer 1 – 3 pieces of Arabic bread/ pita (good opportunity to use up stale bread), olive oil.

Layer 2 – 750g chickpeas.

Layer 3 – 250g yoghurt, 500g hummus, 2 garlic cloves, a large glug of olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons tahini, salt, pepper and a pinch of sumac.

Layer 4 – knob of butter, large handful of mixed pine nuts, cashew nuts and chopped almonds and some optional pomegranate seeds.

_ _ _ _ _ _


1. Tear up the bread into pieces about 2 cm by 2 cm. Place a frying pan onto a high heat with a thick layer of olive oil covering the bottom. When hot, fry the pieces of bread until crispy.  Spread them out on the bottom of a serving bowl – layer 1.

2. Boil the ready to eat chickpeas for 5 minutes. When they’re boiled put a couple of tablespoons of the water, and all the chickpeas, on top of the bread – layer 2.

3. Mix all the ingredients required for layer 3 and place this on the chickpeas.

4. Fry the nuts in butter and place them on the fatteh to serve (add optional pomegranate here).

(Liability waiver: the writer accepts no responsibility for excessive eating and any further effects this may have on the bowels.)

I have included pictures from a couple of meals we have attended, our attempt at a feast (no prizes for guessing which one) and a close up of the hummus fatteh. Enjoy!


Join us to make a positive difference to Syrian communities.

Keeping supporters clued up on our work is important to us. Sign up to keep up to date with where the funds go and the impact they have, and how you can support us.

Join our mailing list Keeping supporters clued up on our work is important to us, we want you to know where the funds go and how they are raised.
We will never share or swap your details with other organisations for their own marketing purposes. You can opt-out of hearing from us or update your communication preferences at any time.
Skip to content