Eggplant Fatteh

Eggplant Fatteh

Fatteh is a category of dishes very popular in the Levant which comes in many variations. The essential ingredient in fatteh is pita bread and everything else can be changed to create different types, like hummus fatteh, chicken fatteh and many other dishes. Fatteh always makes an appearance on Ramadan table in Damascus, where fatteh is considered an appetizer/ side dish. For 30 days during Ramadan, there is always one type of fatteh on the table. Personally, I consider fatteh a main dish and this one is worthy of being the star of any table. It might be time consuming, but if there is one dish that is worthy of your time, this one definitely is.

Many people prepare fatteh components ahead of time and then assemble before serving. I prefer to cook everything right before serving, but you can totally prepare things ahead of time. The beef mince, eggplants, tomato sauce and yogurt sauce can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated then heated before serving. I don’t recommend you toast/fry your pita ahead of time. Though pitas remain crispy for a long time, it is not easy to reheat.

Let’s get cooking!

Start by cutting the eggplants into bite size cubes. Keep in mind that eggplants shrink a lot after cooking. To get rid of any bitterness in the eggplants, spread the eggplants cubes in one layer on a kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt. I prefer to sprinkle only 1 tsp of salt. This would be enough to draw water out of the eggplants, and just enough to salt them without the need to wash them. Keep them for at least 30 minutes, or up to a few hours, then blot dry. After that, eggplants can be deep fried, air fired, pan fried or toasted in the oven. I usually air fry my fatteh components.

For the beef mince, cook with vegetable oil, Salma’s spices and salt.

The tomato sauce has thinly sliced onions, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses and water. The sauce is reduced and is a beautifully tangy sauce that you can eat on its own. It is that good.

The yogurt sauce is prepared by mixing tahini, garlic, and salt with yogurt. Tahini, though added in small quantities, completely changes the flavor of the yogurt, and makes it a perfect sauce for this fatteh.

Like I said, I air fry my pita chips, but traditionally they are deep fried. I wouldn’t recommend toasting them though, because they won’t be browned evenly. Also, toasted pita chips tend to get soggy easily, unlike air fried or deep-fried ones.

For the topping, we usually top this fatteh with toasted almonds and pine nuts. We also use pomegranate seeds if available. Traditionally, hot ghee is also added, but this optional.

Variation

If you are a vegetarian, you can totally leave out the beef mince, I do that a lot. The flavors from the pita, tomato and yogurt sauce are enough to create a perfect dish. You won’t even miss the meat.

FOR THE RECIPE OF SALMA’S SPICE MIX, CLICK HERE.

IF YOU TRY THIS RECIPE AND ENJOY IT, PLEASE LEAVE A RATING AND A COMMENT BELOW. YOU CAN ALSO TAG ME ON INSTAGRAM. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOUR CREATIONS!

eggplant fatteh
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Eggplant Fatteh

Layers of crunchy pita, fried eggplants, meat, tomato pomegranate sauce, tahini yogurtsauce and topped with nuts and pomegranate seeds. A burst of flavors like no other!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Levantine, Syrian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for cooking as needed

For the base

  • 2 small pita bread cut into bite size squares
  • ¼ tsp Aleppo pepper

For the eggplants

  • 750 g eggplants
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the beef mince
  • 250 g beef mince
  • ½ tsp salt*
  • ½ tsp Salma’s spice mix*
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Pinch of salt

For the yogurt sauce

  • ½ kg yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • ¼ tsp salt*

For the topping

  • Toasted nuts
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Ghee optional

Instructions

For the eggplants

  • Start by cutting the eggplants into bite size cubes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt, put on a kitchen towel in a single layer. Allow for water to be drawn out of the eggplants for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours. Blot dry.
  • Deep fry the eggplants cubes until golden.

For the pita

  • Deep fry the pita squares until golden. Sprinkle immediately with Aleppo pepper.

For the beef mince

  • Brown the mince in a heavy bottomed skillet. Season with salt, Salma’s spice mix and Aleppo pepper.

For the tomato sauce

  • Add 1 tsp of vegetable oil and cook onions until translucent. Add tomato paste and pomegranate molasses and cook for a minute. Add ½ cup boiling water and salt. Simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens.

For the yogurt sauce

  • Beat the yogurt, tahini, garlic, and salt together in a bowl.

To assemble

  • Arrange the pita square of a plate. Top with eggplants, then beef mince. Add the tomato sauce, followed by the yogurt tahini sauce. Scatter over the toasted nuts and pomegranate seeds. Add the hot ghee if using. Watch out when adding the hot ghee, as it will splatter.

Notes

  • Traditionally, eggplants and pita bread are deep fried. I usually air fry them. Read post above for more on this.
  • I use coarse sea salt in all my cooking, change quantities accordingly depending on the type of salt you use.
  • Salma’s spice mix is a spice mix created by grandmother (Salma) and we use it a lot in our cooking. CLICK HERE for the recipe.


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