Eggplant casserole (Fattet betenjan)

Hardly any dish in the Middle-East is more finger-licking or easier to prepare. Layer a food with fried pita croutons and a  yogurt sauce flavored with tahini and a touch of garlic; oh, and a sprinkling of butter-fried nuts to top it off.

Above is a diet version of the eggplant fatteh which is poor in calories but  as equally rich in flavor as the real McCoy. The eggplant bits are roasted (not fried in oil); the croutons are baked (instead of fried). No meat is added  (usually ground lamb fried in a skillet). Instead of meat, you can include a handful of boiled chickpeas in broth. 

The only concession to calories here is the nuts that were fried in a pat of butter, but feel free to dry toast them; I just think that butter really makes them shine. Finally, the pita croutons are toasted in a 300F oven for a few minutes till golden. 

INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 lb of  eggplants
  • 2 pita breads (medium size)
  • 2 cups of yogurt
  • 3 tbsp of tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper , 1/2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of allspice
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 oz of pine nuts or almonds
METHOD:
  1. Peel the eggplants and cut into small chunks; pour a few tablespoons of oil in a large ziploc bag and throw the eggplant bits in there; shake to coat with the oil. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprinkle with spices. Roast in a 325F oven for 30 minutes or until tender and silky soft. 
  2. Meanwhile, peel the garlic, chop into small bits and mash in a mortar with a dash of salt till pasty; add to the yogurt with the tahini and mix to combine with a wire whisk. Place the bread in the oven and toast till golden; break into small croutons. Heat the chickpeas in 2 cups of chicken broth, add spices to taste (salt, pepper, allspice, cumin). When ready to assemble the dish, place the eggplants and chickpeas at the bottom of a deep serving platter, pour the yogurt sauce on top, sprinkle with pita croutons and golden toasted or fried pine nuts and serve immediately. 
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12 Comments

  1. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    This sounds incredible! Love everything in this recipe.

  2. Dana
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    One of Jad’s favorite dinners. He calls it ” laban” :) One trick I learned to get crispy eggplants without ton of oil is to roast them first then shallow fry them real quick in a bit of olive oil. Hope you are staying safe!

  3. verkin10
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    You did it again!
    Great presentation!
    I love the changes you made.

    Verkin

  4. Joumana
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    @Dana: Great tip, I’ll try it next!

    @Verkin: Thanks, glad to hear this!

  5. Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I love this dish! Feel like having it now for dinner!

  6. Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    This looks amazing! I like to bake instead of frying, and all the flavors are wonderful! I can’t wait to try it! :)

  7. Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Ah Joumana, yet another delicious recipe for the humble vegetable! Thank you:)

  8. Posted October 25, 2012 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    well that’s dinner sorted!

  9. Posted October 25, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    I love your blog! I love the flavours and ingredients you use. I’ve been on a huge eggplant and tahini kick lately so this recipe is definitely a must-cook!

  10. Posted October 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I have to admit, I fried some eggplant today. Delightful, healthy dish!

  11. Posted October 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, I love how you’ve served this fatteh! How wonderful. We regularly have fattet hummus and fattet djaj at home (just prepared the latter to blog finally) but I’ve never seen this aubergine one presented this way. Fantastic for entertaining!

  12. Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

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