1 or 2 rounds of Lebanese bread, Arabic khobs, or pita if you're stuck
lots of EVOO
a dozen peeled deveined prawns, smaller types preferred.
1 tbsp light soya
1 tbsp hoi sin
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp grated palm sugar
1 clove garlic, mashed (optional)
Mix marinade ingredients together well, I usually find a jar with a close sealing lid large enough to hold the material to be marinated (in this case, the prawns) and when well combined and the sugar has dissolved, set aside about a spoonful of the marinade. Now add the prawns to the main bulk of the mixture and shake. Set aside. (You may wish to do this a few hours before starting the meal, perhaps even the day before, in which case, place in a cold spot in your refrigerator.)
Wash and dry salad leaves, toss briefly in salad bowl.
Put olive oil in the pan, heat to almost smoking, add as many marinated prawns as will fit in a single layer, and fry both sides until prawns are cooked through and some of the marinade is caramelised and crisp. Place on paper towel, set aside. Cook all the prawns this way.
If you are using the onion, slice this very thinly, put some more olive oil in the pan, and slowly fry until golden-brown and crisp. onion bits have to be crisp. Drain, place on paper towel, set aside until cooled.
Roll the bread into a tight roll and slice 1/4" (half centimeter) slices. Put some more EVOO in the pan, allow to get smoking hot, and put as much bread as will form a single layer at a time, toss and fry until bread strips are crisp and golden-brown, with occasional dark brown areas. At that stage, place on paper towel, set aside until all the bread has been crisped.
If the prawns and bread have cooled sufficiently (they should be hot to warm, but not so hot as to wilt the leaves) assemble the salad, add shallots and prawns to the salad and toss, then add the bread crisps and toss once more. Sprinkle with a few drops of the marinade you reserved that didn't have prawns in, drizzle a fine stream of EVOO over.
Can be served as a salad dish with a meal, or just served as meal by itself. Serve while still warm from cooking.
Fatoush (I think) means "wet bread" or "soggy bread" but in fact it doesn't get soggy for quite a while, it stays crispy and crunchy in the salad.
There are genuine fatoush recipes, and most of them include mint and vegetables and parsley or coriander, and a sprinkling of zartar, which is dried powdered wild thyme and sesame and sumak. (By "genuine" I mean, of course, that every household in the Arab world has their own recipe, much like baharat mix. I was going for something that used the crisp bread and salad idea but with a savoury Asian component, and this worked together.)
Things you could try and which would go well: Use a touch of sesame oil in the marinade, or some soya sauce in which you've soaked some sliced fresh chillies beforehand. I'm going to try each of those next time I make this recipe.