Eggplant Fatteh may be the most famous of all fattehs in the Middle East. It consists of fried eggplant cooked in a red sauce, fried bread squares and a yoghurt sauce. Of course you know how much I dislike frying so everything that should be fried was made in the Air fryer instead, and the result was amazing. This dish is so simple yet so flavorful and some small different tips in the execution make the difference in the overall flavor.
- 3 pita breads
- 1 large eggplant
- 8 small eggplants (for a different serving option)
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 5-6 garlic cloves crushed (divided)
- 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 750 grams - 1 kilo yoghurt
- Pinch of salt
- Minced Beef:
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 400 grams finely minced beef
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, all spice, cardamom (optional)
- For garnish: chopped parsley and fried pine nuts or almonds
* Chop the pita breads into small squares and drizzle them with olive or vegetable oil and pop them in the air fryer for 9 minutes. Don't forget to mix them half way. You can choose to fry them if you like.
*Chop the eggplant into small cubes keeping the skin on. Sprinkle them with salt and set aside for a few minutes. They will produce some liquid, dry it off with a paper towel, drizzle some olive or vegetable oil and into the air fryer for 10-15 minutes. You can make this in a pan if you like. Heat the pan, drizzle some oil and then drop in the eggplant cubes all on high heat until they cook and gain color. You do not need to deep fry!
*For the small eggplants, it is an option and you are free to leave it out. Cut a slit in every eggplant length wise without cutting it all the way through. Sprinkle salt and drizzle some olive oil inside the slit and all over the eggplant. Lay them in the air fryer and cook on 200 for 10 minutes then another 10 minutes on180. They will be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
*For the yoghurt sauce: Mix the yoghurt with salt and 2 -3 crushed garlic cloves and set aside. You can leave it in the fridge.
*To make the red sauce: In a pan drizzle some olive oil, sauté the finely chopped onion until it softens, add the rest of the crushed garlic and sauté. Once it is fragrant drop in the tomato paste and mix around a bit. Pour 1- 1 1/2 cups of hot water. Sprinkle some salt and the teaspoon of sugar and once everything is boiling add the eggplant cubes we cooked earlier. Now leave this to simmer and allow the liquids to reduce and the eggplant to gain flavor from everything we added. Once cooked allow it to cool.
*In a different pan, sauté the finely chopped onion in some oil and when it softens mix in the minced beef and mix until the beef changes color. Add in all the spices and salt and pepper and leave it to cook. Once cooked allow it to cool.
*If you want to choose the option of laying the eggplants on top of the fatteh for a beautiful presentation, you need to fill each slit in the eggplant (the ones we cooked in the air fryer earlier) with some of the minced beef we cooked. They will end up as stuffed eggplants.
*Everything is ready now we assemble. In your serving dish first we lay the crunchy fried bread squares. Now spoon the eggplant cooked in the sauce on top, try to avoid any liquids if you have any left because they will cause the bread to get soggy faster.
*Now pour the yoghurt sauce, lay the eggplants we stuffed on top and garnish with chopped parsley and fried almonds or fried pine nuts. Enjoy immediately before everything gets soggy.