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Fattet Baitenjan

This dish is pretty quick and easy to make, but the key to getting the depth of flavour is to let everything cook slowly over a low heat...

Fattet baitenjan is a dish popular in the Levant. Fatteh is a dish with a bread base, which can be topped with any mixture of ingredients, depending on the type of fatteh. The bread can either be fried, baked in the oven, or even soft. I prefer crispy bread to add texture to the dish!

Baitenjan is aubergine in Arabic, and that is definitely the star of this dish. You can choose to leave the peel on or completely peel the aubergine, but I like to do it this way because I have some pieces with and some without the peel. Make sure you don’t cut the aubergine too small, as it shrinks after cooking, and will disappear into the sauce.

In this video, I am making the vegetarian version, but many people add minced lamb or beef in the aubergine sauce, so feel free to do so! It is equally as delicious.

This dish is pretty quick and easy to make, but the key to getting the depth of flavour is to let everything cook slowly over a low heat to make sure the flavours develop and you get a complex sauce.

It is important to add the aubergines at the end, after the sauce has cooked and thickened, as they are very fragile and would disintegrate into the sauce once cooked.

The ratios of the ingredients in the yogurt topping is really a matter of personal taste, depending on if you would like it to be more tart or prefer the tahini to stand out.

This dish is a delicious way to trick kids and adults alike into eating their veggies! I promise it will soon become a favourite of your family and friends!

Garnish with pine nuts for an added crunch, sumac for a little kick, and parsley for some freshness and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pittas
  • 1 kg aubergine (3-4 medium aubergines)
  • 3 medium bell peppers (chopped into medium pieces)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp crushed chilli pepper paste (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup water

Yogurt layer

  • 500 g Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini (to taste)
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Garnish

  • Pine nuts
  • Parsley
  • Sumac

Instructions

  1. Chop the aubergine into medium-sized cubes (1/2 inch) and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil and bake at 200 C until cooked.
  2. Cut pita bread into squares, place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 200 C until golden brown.
  3. While the aubergine and bread is cooking, sauté the onions and bell peppers in a large pot with olive oil and salt.
  4. Cook, covered, on low heat until soft and browned. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli paste, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper and water. Stir and cover. Cook on low heat until thickened.
  5. Mix the yogurt layer ingredients together and set aside.
  6. Once the tomato mixture is cooked, add the cooked aubergine, slowly mixing to make sure the aubergine stays intact.
  7. To assemble, layer half of the bread followed by half of the tomato and aubergine mixture. Then add the rest of the bread and tomato mixture and top with the yogurt layer. Spread evenly.
  8. Garnish with pine nuts, parsley, and sumac and enjoy!
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