Eggplant Casserole here! This dish is called ‘Fatteh Betnjan‘ in Arabic. One of my favorite dishes of my childhood. Made with layers of toasted pita bread, seasoned meat in a rich tomato sauce (traditionally used with ground beef, I used chicken here), roasted eggplant, garlic tahini yogurt sauce, fresh herbs like parsley and the best part, roasted nuts (I used peanuts but pine nuts are also a good alternative) to top it all off. There a few components to this dish but it’s absolutely delicious and worth making!
Eggplant Casserole (Fatteh Betnjan)
1 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 in. thick
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
3 small full whole wheat pita breads, cut into bite size pieces
1 small onion, diced
1.5 cups plain nonfat yogurt
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tbs tahini sauce
1/2 of a 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 of a 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 tsp raw sugar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, crushed (divided)
2 tsp sumac seasoning
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
Handful of chopped parsley
Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F and oil and baking sheet. Add sliced eggplant and sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush lightly with olive oil. Put in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes watching carefully. Flip if necessary. When finished allow to cool for a bit and shred the eggplant by pulling it apart with your hands.
- Get another baking sheet and apply cut pita bread bites laying them evenly. Season with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder, and cracked black pepper. Put in the oven until crispy and browned. Will take about 8 minutes so watch carefully and remove when finished.
- In a medium bowl add plain yogurt, tahini sauce, 1 crushed garlic clove, and the lemon juice and whisk well. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Set aside.
- While those are finishing, in a medium skillet on medium heat add a drizzle of olive oil and chopped onion. Cook until onion is translucent then add 2 crushed garlic cloves.
- Next add in chicken to the same skillet along with salt, pepper, sumac to taste. Allow to cook then add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, sugar and mix well. Allow to reduce and become a thickened sauce. Adjust salt and black pepper and add chili flakes if desired. Set aside.
- In a small skillet dry roast the peanuts on medium heat for about 2 minutes constantly stirring until browned.
- Get a serving dish and start to assemble your casserole. First add the toasted pita bread coating the bottom of the dish, then spread the chicken in tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, yogurt sauce, chopped fresh parsley, and roasted peanuts.
- Serve and eat immediately to keep those pita bread bites crispy. Enjoy!
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