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Photography By : Sukaina Rajabali
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Fatteh’d magdous – Stuffed baby aubergines in a tomato and yoghurt sauce

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There are numerous types of fattehs in the region, made with layers of toasted bread, vegetables and/or meat with yoghurt, nuts and sometimes tomato sauce. Fatteh comes from the Arabic way of saying to crumble or pull the bread over something. My grandmother used to say that it is crucial to use baby aubergines as they are sweeter and more tender than their bigger counterparts, and work better with yoghurt.

  • Serves Six


  • 12 baby aubergines
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 300g minced lamb (preferably lean)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 250ml water
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1.5kg yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 125ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 200g Arabic pitta bread
  • 30g fresh parsley, chopped
  • 30g toasted almonds (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil and butter for frying

Cooking Instructions

  1. Cut the top off the aubergines and peel off a few strips of skin, leaving only some of the skin on. This should reduce any bitterness.
  2. Heat a frying pan over low heat, add a little vegetable oil and the aubergines. Cover and toss the pan around occasionally to get an even fry on all sides. Depending on the size of the aubergines, this can take anywhere from 20to40 minutes. They are ready when they are tender when poked with a fork.
  3. In the meantime, heat another frying pan over a medium heat, add a little oil and butter and fry the pine nuts until golden brown. Place them on a plate lined with paper napkins.
  4. n the same pan, add the finely chopped onions and cook until translucent before adding the minced lamb and cinnamon. Cook the meat for about 5 minutes or until it is done, add half the pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. In a saucepot, bring water to a simmer and gently drop in the tomatoes. Let them simmer for 60 seconds, remove them and, once cool enough to handle, peel, deseed and dice the tomatoes.
  6. Emptying the same saucepot from the hot water, add a little oil and the thinly sliced onions and cook them for a few minutes before adding the tomato paste. Cook for another minute before adding the diced tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cup of water, bring to a gentle boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  7. In a bowl, whisk the yoghurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  8. Cut the pitta bread into small squares or break it up using your hands. Heat a frying pan with a little oil and butter, and toast the bread until golden brown. (If you prefer, you can toast them in the oven, but this has more flavour.)
  9. Once the aubergines are ready, cut a long vertical opening in the middle and stuff them with the meat and pine nut mixture.
  10. Using a deep and large serving plate, assemble the dish by starting with the toasted bread, top with the yoghurt, then the tomato sauce, place the aubergines on top, sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts (and almonds if you desire) then sprinkle the parsley on top.

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