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
- 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.
- 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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