Fattet Makdous – Stuffed Aubergine Layers

If you believe, aubergines are boring, you first need to see the recipes I have already posted in here. If you find them convincing enough, allow me to present you another great specialty from the Levant that has the power to take aubergines from average to exceptional.

The recipe has several steps and requires various components. It might sound lengthy but you can easily divide the tasks and prepare them depending on your availability of time and assemble the dish last minute. Trust me, its worth the effort!

What steps are involved in Fatteh Makdous?

  • Preparing the base: Thin pita or flatbread like khubez is first cut in cubes and then deep fried in oil.
  • Making the tahini sauce : Yoghurt, pressed garlic, a bit of citrus and tahini are combined together to make a luscious sauce.
  • Making the stuffing: by cooking minced meat (lamb or beef) and seasoning it with 7 spice mix.
  • Preparing the aubergines: The aubergines are supposed to be deep fried and then stuffed with the prepared minced meat. 
  • Cooking aubergines in tomato sauce.
  • Assembling all the components: by layering pieces of crunchy golden deep fried flat bread covered with the yogurt sauce followed by the tomato sauce and little stuffed aubergines. Toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil finishes off the stunning composition. 

What aubergines to use?
Traditionally, the dish is made using round baby aubergines but if you cant get hold of them (as I sometimes dont), use the thin long Turkish ones and cut them in half. Peel them partially to create zebra stripes.

What meat to use?
Ground lamb meat works best! But you can also use ground beef or a mix of both!

Why assembling last minute?
To ensure the bread stays crispy! Also, because Tahini is a thickening agent and aubergines tend to soak liquids very quickly, its better not to pour yoghurt sauce too early on any of the two components. But you can prepare everything in advance and do the final layering shortly before serving. 

Enjoy! And don´t forget to share your Fattet Makdous with me. Here or on Instagram using the hashtag #chefonrhine. 

Fattet Makdous - Stuffed Aubergine Layers

A levantine specialty featuring baby aubergines stuffed with spiced minced meat layered on a bed of toasted pita slathered in Tahini yoghurt.
Servings: 4
Author: Fatima Sadal - Chef on Rhine

Ingredients

  • 2 flat pita bread cut in cubes
  • ½ cup pine nuts fried
  • 8 baby aubergines or 3 long thin ones
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin powder
  • salt, pepper
  • 500 ml yoghurt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • pomegranate arils, chopped parsley to garnish
  • olive oil and vegetable oil for frying

Filling

  • 350 grams minced beef
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Lebanese 7 spice mix

Instructions

  • Toast pine nuts in a pan. Set aside.
  • Cut pitas in cubes. Fry in olive oil. Allow to cool.
  • Mix yoghurt with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and chopped parsley. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a pan over medium heat, add the meat and stir until dry. Add onion and season with salt, pepper and 7 spices. Cook until fragrant.
  • Peel the aubergines about 1 cm width (leaving some strips of skin on). Make a slit along the side. Deep fry in oil until golden brown or bake until tender.
  • In a cooking pan, add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Carefully place the fried aubergines over the tomatoes, allow to cook for 15 minutes.

Assemble before serving :

  • Arrange the fried bread in a deep serving dish, pour yoghurt on top.
  • Carefully place aubergines over the yoghurt, open the slit carefully with the spoon and stuff with the meat filling.
  • Pour the remaining tomato sauce over it and rest of the minced meat.
  • Garnish with pine nuts, chopped parsley and pomegranate arils.

Notes

  • You can use lamb mince instead of beef or a mix of both.
  • Try to use thin flat pitas so the bread doesnt overpower the dish.
  • You can also bake the aubergines as well as pita pieces in oven instead of deep frying for a healthier version. But frying brings out more flavour!
  • The recipe steps can be divided to save time. You can prepare the stuffing, sauce , aubergines and bread ahead of time but make sure to assemble last min. The bread tends to turn soggy due to the moisture in yoghurt.

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