During a once-in-a-lifetime trip in the spring of 2022, my husband and I visited Muscat in Oman. It’s not a destination that had ever been on our travel bucket list, but it was a stop in a pre-planned itinerary with a tour company we enjoy, called TCS World Travel. Because of covid restrictions and outbreaks, a couple destinations were omitted from the original itinerary. Of course, as is typical with traveling, Oman was a delightful surprise. We toured a market in Muscat, and then ventured out into the sand dunes, visited a Bedouin home and shared tea, and stopped at an oasis. And the hotel, located on the coastline of the Gulf of Oman, had the most stunning views.
Omani cuisine was incredible. For dinner one night at the hotel, Al Bustan, I started my meal with fattoush – a Middle Eastern/Lebanese version of Italian panzanella. It was fresh and delicious but the crunchy bread really got my attention. The waiter informed me that the bread is an Omani specialty called khubz. For the salad it’s deep fried.
While in Oman, I’m pretty sure I came across khubz a couple of times. One I saw it on a buffet, and served myself some with my salad assortment. It was unique – super thin and really flaky. And, honestly, there wasn’t much to it. It sort of melted in your mouth, sort of how I imagine communion wafers.
Another time, khubz was being made while I watched – a very thin batter on a flat griddle, the cook using a paint scraper to lift it off. You can tell how thin the bread is.
I originally wanted to make fattoush for my blog so I could make the khubz myself just for the heck of it, but it turns out from what I read, fattoush is commonly prepared with fried or baked pieces of pita bread. And when I looked over recipes for khubz they were basically identical to pita or flat breads, although some thinner than others. If there was a unique preparation to this bread, I would have been excited to make it from scratch. But, as with most breads around the world, khubz begins with flour and water…
This fattoush recipe is in three parts: the basic salad is a lovely combination of vegetables, the fried or baked pita toasts, and the dressing. I recommend making the dressing in advance, even the day before. The pita toasts can be made that day so they remain crisp, but what’s most important is that the salad is made at the last minute, right before serving.
Serves 2 large or 4 small
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground sumac
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Place all of the ingredients in a blender jar and blend until smooth.
Serve at room temperature.
3 pita breads, white or whole wheat, halved and sliced into rectangles
For the pita toasts, Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. I purchased a bag of 6 white pita breads, and used four to cut up the pieces to toast as follows. Save the remaining two whole pitas for serving.
Sprinkle the pita pieces with oil, then season with salt, pepper, and salt. Bake in the unit there’s some browning, then gently toss the pieces, and bake a few more minutes.
I also save all extra bread in the freezer. You never know when you need fresh bread crumbs!
1 small head trimmed romaine, cleaned, dried
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved, drained on paper towels
3 or 4 mini cucumbers, sliced
1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
5-6 radishes, thinly sliced
1 small purple onion, diced, to taste
Chopped parsley, to taste
Mint leaves, to taste
Place the romaine in a medium bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper and radishes. Then add the onion and parsley.
When you’re ready to serve, add a couple of handfuls of the pita toasts, then add the vinaigrette to taste.
Serve in two bowls, and sprinkle with mint leaves, if desired.
You an also serve the fattoush with the remaining pita bread.
If you want to make the khubz from scratch, also known as Omani bread, here’s a recipe.