Fatteh Makdous is a spiced meat-stuffed baby eggplant that has been simmered in a savoury tomato sauce topped on a bed of tangy yogurt and crispy sumac flavoured pita chips. A true Arabian dish with 1001 different variations to try.
Fatteh, it’s the equivalent of the nachos of the Middle East!
What is fatteh?
Fatteh means ” crumbs or crushed” Most Middle Eastern dishes are named after the main ingredient or method of preparation. Think “Hummus” which means chickpeas or “Hashwah” which means stuffing.
All Fatteh dishes have two main components, one, which is the dried bread as the base regardless of whatever other ingredients you use to make your fatteh. the second is it’s always some sort of layer dish whether it’s a simple quick meal or an elaborate dish for celebrations. The yogurt sauce is also a common theme in most fatteh’s but it can be swapped out for a tahini sauce.
There are so many variations of this dish I’ve decided to make a category on my site just for Fatteh!
I have yet to come across an Arab country that doesn’t have some kind of variation of this dish, and it’s no wonder why this dish is a must-have recipe for every Arab woman cooking arsenal. It’s simply a delicious meal you can use whatever you have in your fridge or pantry and spoil your loved ones with a tasty and nourishing meal.
Ths variation of Fatteh is the Syrian styled Fatteh Makdous. The layers consist of mini fried eggplants stuffed spiced meat, a savoury onion and tomato sauce, and tangy yogurt sauce followed with an oh so perfect crunch from the pita chips. This version of fatteh is more decadent and can be served to the guest, and it appears to be a more laborious fatteh but no need to fear! Fatteh dishes are simple to make, they’re just like nachos!
Fatteh Makdous Ingredients
Ok! before we get into the full recipe below, let’s talk about what you’ll need to make this fatteh dish.
Baby Eggplants: Also known as Italian eggplants. If you can’t find the Italian variety, just use the regular eggplant and cut it into large cubes.
Olive oil: Always try to select a high-quality olive oil that been marked with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) symbol. Oil olive should be dark in colour, packaged in dark bottles or tins and marked with a production date. Using a cheap olive is no different than consuming overpriced canola or vegetable oil. Unfortunately, many of the low-quality olive oil has been cut with cheaper oil and then add flavour packs and dye to fool the customers into believing they’re getting real olive oil.
Onions: Regular old brown onions for your tomato sauce. You can use other varieties of onions it’s not a deal-breaker for this dish.
Diced tomatoes: if in season use fresh, if out of season use a high quality canned diced tomatoes. I find the cheaper canned tomatoes tend to be a bit too acidic and the flavour of the tomatoes will stand out in this dish, so try to buy the best you can afford.
Hashwah: A Middle Eastern spiced meat recipe. Ground lamb or beef mixture that serves as a base for many dishes. Simple to make and store great in the freezer for quick meals throughout the week. You can find my Hashwa recipe HERE.
Yogurt Sauce: Yogurt, tahini, lemon, garlic, and a bit of water. That’s it to make a great yogurt sauce.
Pita Chips: Baked or fried it’s your choice! I prefer to bake them to reduce the amount of oil I consume. I love to top my chips with salt and sumac. Which is what I recommended in the recipe but it’s not mandatory for success in this recipe.
Fried Sliced Almonds & Pine Nuts: Fry nuts in a bit of oil, is the perfect additional crunch this dish needs. And well, it’s traditional to the recipe.
Pomegranate Seeds & Parsley: These ingredients are more for eyes to feast on then a necessity for the dish. Although in the defence of the pomegranate seeds they’re a delightful burst of sweet & tart flavour that I love with this dish.
How to make Fatteh Makdous?
Alright, let get into how we make this work of art. To make this recipe you simply……
- Prepare the eggplant: Drizzle oil into a large frying pan with a lid add the whole eggplants and let cook for about 5 minutes then give the pan a quick shake so the eggplants move around and have a chance to cook evenly on each side. You continue this process until the eggplants are soft.
- Make the pita chips: Cut the pita bread into small square or rip the bread into small pieces. transfer the bread pieces to a baking sheet drizzle with oil. Add sumac and salt if using. Bake until lightly golden brown. let cool. Some chips might be still soft don’t worry they’ll crisp up.
- Prepare the hashwa: if you haven’t already prepared this recipe beforehand this is the time to make it. Make a large batch and keep it on hand for future uses and to save time when making this dish again.
- Prepare the tomato sauce: Once the eggplants are soft remove from pan. Add in the onion and more oil if needed. saute until golden brown. Add tomatoes and paste to the dish allow to cook to remove and acidic taste. Add your spice cook for a few minutes then add water about 1 cup. Bring to a boil. Add the eggplants back and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
- Prepare Yogurt Sauce: Mix everything in a bowl and set aside for later.
How to serve the Fatteh at mealtime?
To serve this recipe to your family, I would recommend serving the tomato sauce and stuff eggplants in a baking dish and decorating it with your garnishes. Place the pita chips in a large bowl and the yogurt sauce in a smaller bowl with a spoon.
The eggplant dish can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for later. Simply reheat later.
You can assemble this dish and serve too, You just have to eat it quickly after you’ve assembled it or the chips start to go soggy.
How to assemble Fatteh Makdous
Now that we have all the prep work for the fatteh, here’s where it all comes together. Now let’s get layering!
- Pita chips: Place pita chips on the plate.
- Yogurt Sauce: Top those chips with yogurt sauce.
- Baby Eggplant: place the eggplant in the centre of the plate open the middle with two forks
- Hashwa: Spoon in two tablespoons of meat filling.
- Tomato Sauce: top the stuff eggplant and yogurt with tomato sauce
- Garnish: now beautify your dish with pops of colour from the pome seed and parsley
Now it time to eat right away, no time to spare or you’ll be eating a soggy fatteh and losing out on the joy of those crunchy chips.