Middle-Eastern Eggplant Casseroles also known as Fatet Batinjan فتت بيتنجان or Fatet Makdous فتيت مكدوس
Batinjan بيتنجان او باذنجان which stands for eggplant in the Arabic language. Some also call the dish Fatet Makdous مكدوس which also stands for pickled eggplants. Fatet or Fateh فته stands for shredded bread which is very common in Middle-Eastern cuisine for you can also find several dishes that start with Fateh or Fatet like: Fatet Jaj (Chicken Fatteh), Fatet Hummus.. those are the ones I am familiar with, and find them all DELICIOUS.
History of Eggplants
The first known written record is found in an ancient Chinese agricultural treaties completed in 544. It was introduced throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle-Ages. A book on agriculture by Ibn Al-Awwam in 12th century Arabic Spain described how to grow Eggplants (Aubergines). Eggplants were considered poisonous for a time period. But obviously today, eggplants are favored by many.
Eggplants are considered a fruit and are related to Tomatoes and Potatoes. The number one production country for Eggplants is China, followed by India and Iran. 4th country is Egypt, 5th is Turkey and 7th is Iraq.
Eggplant is low in fat, protein and carbohydrates. It is also low in Vitamins and minerals. A study in Brazil found eggplant juice to significantly reduce weight, plasma cholesterol levels aortic cholesterol content. Funny enough, eggplant is considered the richest in nicotine concentration, an average of 9Kilos of eggplants is equal to the same amount of nicotine in one cigarette. Eggplant skin has nasunin which is an antioxidant that protects cell membrane from damages.
Different ways in making Fatet Bitinjan
I find it inspiring and amazing how many different ways there are to making Fatet Bitinjan, First it is considered to be a Middle-Eastern dish, yet I found it very difficult to track it back to its origin. Is it a Syrian cuisine? Lebanese? Palestinian? Nonetheless it is for sure served in almost every Arab home, and how it is prepared is different from one kitchen to another. Some cut the eggplants into pieces, and scramble them with the tomatoes, some keep the shape of the eggplant, empty its filling and add the ingredients as a filling, some add onion, and others add some other ingredients.
As for SUZIE|S KITCHEN – Fatet Batinjan is a ritual during the holy month of Ramadan, and when it is prepared, we look forward for Iftar Time. It is also very easy to prepare and I think no matter where your from, and if you have tried it before or not, this recipe is worth the try. Bon Appétit | Sahtein
While you are at the recipe, enjoy some Middle Eastern Music
Tip: I suggest you read the recipe and multi task, since each ingredient is prepared separately and then finally combined.
Makes enough for 6 to 8 people – 1hr 1/2 total time required
2 pita bread
11/4 cup of sunflower oil
4 medium sized eggplants
1 table spoon salt
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
5 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed dried mint
2 cups of yogurt
1/2 kilo minced meat خشنه
Pinch of mixed pepper
Pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon roasted pine-nuts
1 tablespoon roasted almonds
2 Tablespoon of finely chopped parsley.
Cut the pita bread into small square pieces.
In a saucepan over high heat, add 1 cup of sunflower oil and leave to heat for 3 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and add the pieces of bread into saucepan.
Leave the bread to fry around 3 – 5 minutes, once you see the bread turn golden, remove saucepan from heat.
Leave fried bread on the side.
Peel the skin off the eggplants, and cut into medium sized squares.
Add the squares of eggplant into a strainer over a bowl and add 1 table spoon of salt over them.
Leave the eggplants and keep shaking the strainer every 10 minutes to move the salt around and help the eggplant water drip.
Keep doing this for 1/2 hour until the eggplant water have dripped out.
Heat your oven for 10 minutes over heat of 360.
Get a cooking dish and add 1/4 cup of sunflower oil to it.
Add the cooking dish with the oil in the oven for 10 minutes to heat the oil.
After 10 minutes, add the eggplant pieces into the dish and leave in the oven for 1/2 hour.
Eggplants should be golden, flip them to the other side and add for another 1/2 hour.
Remove eggplants from the oven and leave on the side.
In a bowl, add boiling water over the 6 tomatoes and leave for 10 minutes to soak.
Tomatoes skin will start peeling, this is when you peel off the skin and cut the tomatoes into small pieces.
In a frying pan, add the tomatoes first then the eggplants over the tomatoes and place the frying pan over heat for about 20 minutes until you see it boil.
In a separate frying pan over medium heat add the garlic, 3 tbspoon olive oil, and crushed mint and stir until the color turns yellowish.
Add a pinch of salt stir a little bit more and remove from heat.
In a bowl, add yogurt and the mixed garlic and mix well.
In a frying pan, add 2 tbspoon of olive oil, and the minced meat over.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a pinch of black pepper and mixed pepper.
Stir the meat until the color is changing into cooked meat. This should take 15 minutes.
SUZIE|S SPECIALITY is to treat fatet batinjan like Fajita, each ingredient in separate dishes and is made for each guest separately to be immediately served. This is to avoid having the fried bread become soaked and soft. The best part about this fateh is having the fried bread crunch in your mouth.
Steps to making your dish of Fatet Batinjan
Step 2: Sprinkle fried bread as a base.
Step 3: Add the tomato eggplants on top of the fried bread.
Step 4: Add yogurt.
Step 5: Add minced meat.
Step 6: Add parsley.
Step 7: Add roasted pine-nuts & almonds.