Fattet Makdous – Syrian Eggplant Fatteh

Eggplant, Beef & Tomato layered in Pita Bread

Fettes are great ways to use up old pita bread. I think they probably originated in the Middle East for this reason, as it's considered a sin to throw away bread in the Muslim religion. Growing up, if there was bread that was super old or dry, my religious relatives would never be put in the garbage, but instead in it's own plastic bag. Not really sure what they did with it, but I'd like to think they fed the birds!

By Suzanka
June 5, 2020
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My earliest memory of this is trying it in a traditional old Syrian house restaurant in Souk el Hamadiyeh. I was around 16 years old and never heard of it before. My family never used to make it at all! I was obsessed! So delicious – especially since I am an eggplant fanatic.

Be warned that this dish is not for the faint of heart, or those watching their waistlines. It’s a full on, let’s eat it and nap for the rest of the afternoon kind of dish. Typical Syrian style!

In terms of prep, it’s relatively easy – just a bit time consuming if you don’t have the stuff ready. I would suggest you plan to make this a day before so you can prep some steps before hand!

Things you can do ahead of time to save time:

  • You can toast the pita bread the day before, and after cooling put it in a ziplock or tupperware.
  • You can soak a piece of tamarind in water overnight.
  • You could technically make all the layers the day before, except the yogurt garlic sauce, since garlic tends to intensify when refrigerated overnight.

Syrian Fattet Makdous

This recipe is a great hearty brunch dish, or even a delicious dinner. Typically Syrian, It marries all the flavors of the Bilad el Sham (Middle East) in one dish. It consist of several layers including fried eggplant, tomato sauce, ground meat, toasted pita bread and a savory garlic yogurt sauce.
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Baking Tray lined with foil or parchment
  • Paper towels to soak up oil
  • Frying pot
  • Large sauté pan with lid

Ingredients
  

Toasted Pita Bread

  • 4 small pita bread cut into small squares
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Yogurt Mix

  • 800 g Greek Yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 green chilli finely minced
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Tomato Tamarind Sauce

  • 2 yellow onions half moon slices
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 kg tomato passata
  • 5 tbsp tamarind liquid
  • 1 tsp salt

Fried Eggplants

  • 3 eggplants cut into 3cm thick ring chunks
  • 1 cup sunflower oil

Minced Meat

  • 300 grams ground lamb or beef or a mix of both
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Toppings

  • 1 parsley, chopped small bunch
  • pinenuts, toasted in ghee
  • 1 handful crispy pita bread

Instructions
 

Salt the Eggplants

  • This is not super necessary, but people claim that salting the eggplants and leaving them for a bit will allow the eggplant to release water and reduce its bitterness. You can do it if you want, or not. It needs around 30 minutes to 1 hour, so if you are going to do it, start now. Also, you're going to have to tap them dry before frying them later on! So make sure you have paper towels on hand.

Toast the Pita Bread

  • Preheat the oven to 210ºC / 425ºF. It doesn't need to be precise, we're just going to the toast the bread here.
  • Combine the cut up pita in a large bowl, and add the olive oil. Toss together then spread onto a baking tray (lined with parchment or foil).
  • Bake in the oven until it's golden and crispy. Keep an eye on it, because they brown quickly.
  • Remove, leave to cool and store in a ziplock or tupperware.
  • You can also make extra here if you plan on making fattoush later on! These crispy breads last for 1 week in a sealed environment.

Make the Yogurt Mix

  • Add all the yogurt mix ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Make the Tomato Tamarind Sauce

  • Use a large sauté pan with a lid. It has to be big enough to hold 1kg of ingredients!
  • In the large sauté pan, sauté the onion rings in the sunflower oil, for around 15 minutes or until they start to become golden.
  • Add the the rest of the ingredients (passata, tamarind and salt). Stir and wait till it comes to boil. Then turn the heat down to medium low, cover and stew for 30 minutes.

Fry the Eggplants

  • In another heavy bottomed pot (or your go-to deep frying pot or pan), add the sunflower oil and begin to fry the eggplant rings a few at a time.
  • Fry on both sides until golden. Eggplants drink up alot of oil, so make sure to put them on paper towns after that to soak up the oil.

Sauté the Meat

  • In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil, and sauté the minced meat along with the other ingredients (black pepper, salt, cinnamon).
  • This should take around 10 minutes until all the meat is cooked through.

Layering the Fetté

  • So technically you are done all the layers. Now it's time to layer them into the serving plate. Make sure you layer it to serve immediately or maximum in 30 minutes. It's edible after that, but it's best served fresh. You can layer individual plates for each person, or into 1 large dish that people can scoop from.
  • Layer the bread as the first layer, covering the whole bottom of the dish. Save a bit of crispy bread for topping it later.
  • Add the yogurt mixture.
  • Add the tomato tamarind mixture.
    Syrian Fatte with Eggplant
  • Add the fried eggplants.
    Syrian Fattet Makdous
  • Add the minced meat mixture.
    Syrian Eggplant Fatteh
  • Scatter toasted pinenuts and parsely and some crispy bread on top.
    Parsley & Pine nuts in Fatte Syrian Food
  • That is it! Serve the dish and enjoy!
    Syrian eggplant and beef fatteh

Notes

Try and make the layers ahead of time so you’re not completely overwhelemed by the steps in this dish! It comes together really easily at the end, and everyone will thank you for it!
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Syrian

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @tasteofsham on Instagram.

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