Grandma’s aubergine fattoush
Fattoush is a Levantine salad which has a secure connection toRamadan foods. It is almost present every day, and any iftar is incomplete without it. The same goes for lentil soup and fatteh whether vegetarian (fatteh shamiyeh) or with meat such as chicken fatteh.
Many expats love the traditional fattoush salad, and I have taught many how to make it. The secret is always in the dressing, and the magical ingredient is sumac (though not used in the aubergine fattoush) finished with a drizzle of pomegranatemolasses. This version of fattoush takes me back to a time when I was young and carefree hopping and jumping at my grandmother's house. Ramadan recipes make me nostalgic and remind me of her and beautiful times, we all have such memories. The toasted pita bread reminds me of the sight of the torn pieces of stale bread she used to lay on a straw woven shallow basket drying in the shade. In the olden days' stale bread was used in many preparations as food was scarce and there was no room for waste, it was recycled and used in other recipes such as fattoush. Now, fried bread is more common in the salad, but toasting it is a healthier way to go.
Many expats confuse Baqleh (purslane) with lamb lettuce, they are worlds apart. Purslane is a super low calorie and healthy leafy vegetable as it is high in vitamin A and omega 3 acids, it is a good source of vitamin C and B in addition to essential minerals. The fibre content is high, which makes it an ideal leaf to consume. My dad loves a typical Damascene dish with purslane called Borani, simply sauteed purslane finished with garlic and fresh coriander.
I always opt for roasting aubergine versus deep frying as it reduces the calorie intake by a vast amount without affecting the flavour.
If you are already familiar with this salad, try making it in a healthier way, and if it is new to you, I urge you to try it.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Start to finish: 30 minutes
500 grams eggplant
1 green pepper
3 medium tomatoes
1 bunch purslane
½ cup parsley
½ teaspoon dried mint
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups toasted wholemeal pita bread
Romain lettuce (optional)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
• Preheat oven to 200 C fan setting.
• Prepare the pita bread as in my toasted pita bread and set aside.
• Cut the aubergine into 1 1/2 cm cubes and place on a tray, toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and place in the oven for 20 minutes turning them after 10 minutes.
• Finely chop the onions and cut the tomatoes and peppers into 1 cm cubes.
• Pick the leaves of the purslane, wash and discard the stem.
• Roughly chop the parsley and set aside.
• Prepare the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake.
• Once the aubergine has cooled toss it with all the vegetables, mint and the toasted bread, season with salt and add dressing to your liking.
• Whenever you have stale pita bread never throw away, toast it and store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 months.
• Try making the traditional famous fattoush salad by omitting aubergine and adding cucumbers and sumac.
Per Serving: 395 Calories; 19g Fat (42.5% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 50g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 436mg Sodium.