I'll never forget the first time I tried Levantine Eggplant Fatteh. This delicious dish left me mesmerized at how simple ingredients can make for an incredible culinary experience.
The oh-so popular dish is made up of garlicky yogurt topped with fried eggplant chunks, chickpeas and crunchy pita bread. It's a household favorite in countries across the region including Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan. All you'll need to get this wondrous dish on your table is a few simple ingredients and a pinch of passion for Middle Eastern flavors. So let's get cooking!
Levantine Eggplant Fatteh Ingredients:
- Eggplant: Some people make the dish without the eggplant but this ingredient adds a beautiful flavor twist so I recommend that you don't skip it.
- Flour: I mix two tablespoons of flour with the cubed eggplants before I fry them. This gives them an incredible crunchy coating.
- Pita Bread: Cut up into small pieces and fried to perfection, these add the perfect crunch to the dish.
- Chickpeas: Boiled chickpeas are an essential part of all known versions of fatteh.
- Yogurt: Full fat works best in this recipe but you can substitute it for half-fat varieties. Skimmed yogurt won't give you the right texture.
- Garlic: I mix this with the yogurt and it adds a pop of flavor to the dish.
- Tahini: I know people who make fatteh without tahini but this ingredient just lifts this dish up so I really recommend that you use it.
- Dried or fresh parsley: The perfect garnish for that yogurt mix.
- Pine Nuts: Toasted to perfection in a little bit of butter or ghee.
- Salt to taste
You will also need:
- A good whisk
- An air-fryer (If you want to make a lighter version of this recipe)
- Large prep bowls
- A large ladle to layer all the ingredients
Ways to spice up this dish:
- You can top the dish with some ground beef/lamb cooked with Middle Eastern spices including: All spice/seven spices/salt/ground cinnamon.
- Add a mixture of kernels and nuts along with the pine nuts. Cashews make a great addition and so do almond slivers.
Ways to lighten up this dish:
Now I am all for having this dish just as it is because there's nothing quite like the crunch you get from frying the eggplants and chickpeas. With that said, some people do enjoy a lighter version of this dish. Here are a few ideas on how to get a great fatteh minus the fat:
- You can opt to air-fry the eggplant cubes. This process means you'll be using much less oil and getting a pretty good crunch.
- I once tried baking the eggplant cubes for this recipe and they turned out great but a bit less crunchy than the fried version.
- You can totally oven-bake the pita bread pieces but just make sure to drizzle them with some olive oil before popping them in the oven on 180 ℃ (350 ℉) for around 15 minutes or just until they're crisp and golden.
- You can also toast the pine nuts in the oven or opt to pop them in the air-frier.
Popular fatteh recipe variations:
Eggplant fatteh is certainly a favorite over here but there are so many other ways to make this dish:
- One version of it can be made with chicken instead of chickpeas. This one is hugely popular in Lebanon and is often served for lunch or dinner. The recipe stays largely the same but we basically skip adding the tahini to the yogurt mix and the chickpeas. The chicken used in this recipe is usually boiled alongside stock flavorings like onions, vegetables and mixed spices. Once it's all cooked, you wait for the chicken to cool down a bit and you shred it into bite-size pieces. This is how you layer this version of the dish: Yogurt mix, shredded chicken, fried eggplants, toasted pine nuts and fried pita bread pieces.
- Some people make this dish without the fried eggplant and this variation is often served for breakfast. This is how you layer it: Yogurt mix, chickpeas, fried pita bread and toasted pine nuts.
Perfect Levantine Eggplant Fatteh pairings:
I often serve this dish alongside some pan-fried steak and it always turns out amazing. If you choose to do this, you can omit the chickpeas from the original recipe.