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Fatteh baitenjan

Modern Aubergine Fatteh (Fatteh Baitenjan)

Fatteh is a classic Levantine dish that usually involves pieces of bread that are toasted, fried, stale, or fresh then covered with other ingredients. The name is derived from the Arabic word meaning crushed or crumbs while baitenjan is Arabic for aubergine. Every country, and even every household, makes their fatteh differently, each with their unique take on this dish depending on their personal preferences.

The best part of a fatteh dish is the fact that it can be eaten at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on the ingredients you put in it. Fatteh can be vegetarian, made mainly with chickpeas or aubergines, or meaty, with the addition of minced meat or lamb pieces.

Since the weather is warming up, I decided to do my own take on a fatteh that is more like a salad. While typical aubergine fatteh includes stewing pieces of fried aubergine with tomatoes, making a sauce, I wanted to go for something more fresh and light. I did not add bread to my dish because I wanted to keep it light and suitable for the next day, as the bread would get soggy. However, this would be great with some fried or baked pita bread if you plan on eating it right away.

Here is my take on the dish, but feel free to add or omit any ingredients and make it your own.

Modern Aubergine Fatteh (Fatteh Baitenjan) - Ingredients

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 medium/large aubergine
  • 250 grammes minced lamb or beef
  • 1 large onion
  • Toasted pine nuts (to taste)
  • 1 ½ tsp. 7 spice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley (to taste)

Sauce

  • 4 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp. tahini paste (to taste)
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp. white vinegar (to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp. dried mint
  • 1-2 tsp. minced garlic

Topping

  •  Chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp. pomegranate seeds (if desired)
  • Dried mint
  • Chopped parsley

Instructions

Modern Aubergine Fatteh (Fatteh Baitenjan)


1.
Start by preparing the aubergine. Slice the aubergine lengthwise in medium slices and sprinkle with salt. The salt will take out some of the aubergine’s moisture and any bitterness. Leave the aubergine for 10 minutes, and wipe off the water on the slices.

Modern Aubergine Fatteh (Fatteh Baitenjan)

2. You can either grill or shallow fry the aubergine. To grill, heat a grill pan and brush it with some olive oil. Before putting the aubergine slices on the pan, brush them with olive oil. Grill on both sides until the aubergines are soft and cooked through. Alternatively, you could fry the slices in some vegetable or olive oil in a frying pan until both sides are browned and cooked through. Set the aubergine slices aside.

Modern Aubergine Fatteh (Fatteh Baitenjan)

3. Next, start with the meat mixture. Finely chop the onions and fry in some olive oil, and then add the minced meat to brown. Remove any water from the pan and add the spices, pine nuts and parsley. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients together until they form a smooth mixture. The secret to the sauce is to continuously taste and tweak it until it suits your palate.

5. To assemble, lay the aubergine slices on your serving plate. Then add the meat mixture, top with chopped tomatoes, and drizzle with the sauce. Decorate with the pomegranate seeds, parsley and dried mint. Enjoy!

This dish is delicious served hot, room temperature, or cold. If you decide to use bread, start the assembly with a layer of bread, top with some of the sauce, and then continue with the rest of the steps.

If you would like to make this ahead of time and want to use bread, assemble the dish, keeping the bread on the side, and put it on top when you are ready to eat it.

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