If you’re like me, you have a refrigerator or freezer that ritually collects things. Maybe it’s jams of all types, or yogurt tubs. Half-eaten packets of shredded cheese, even. My freezer collects phyllo dough… 3 boxes and running.
Luckily phyllo is one of my favorite things to cook with, so I was happy to whittle down the collection from 3 to 2 this afternoon. Scrolling through one of my favorite cookbooks – Abla’s Lebanese Kitchen, by Melbourne’s beloved Abla Amad – I came across her recipe for soubih el sit bi djaj: “ladies’ fingers” of crisp phyllo dough stuffed with tangy spiced chicken. Since it was Abla’s recipe, I was sure it would be authentic and delicious.
A break from the norm, these ladies’ fingers use chicken instead of the usual lamb, which makes them just that much lighter for Spring and Summer. I also opted to bake instead of fry mine, and as usual, minced my own chicken in the food processor. Here’s a tip: mince the chicken halfway, add all the spices and pulse until finely ground. Your chicken will be mixed and spiced in one bowl, saving time and cleanup.
My ladies’s fingers weren’t quite as dainty as Abla’s… they were chubbier to say the least. Since mine and Abla’s both yielded 20 fingers, I still must have done something right. Adding tahini and lemon juice to the chicken was an optional step, but as Abla recommends (and I can confirm), the extra bit of zing is 100% worth it. Served alongside extra tarator sauce (made with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and parsley), it’s perfect snack food.