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Egyptian meat fattah on a white dinner plate with bowls of sauces in the back
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4.91 from 10 votes

Egyptian Fattah

A traditional Egyptian dish to celebrate almost any occasion. A center piece of layered toasted pita chips, rice and meat cubes with an amazingly garlicky sauce on top.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Egyptian, Middle East
Servings: 6
Calories: 674kcal
Author: Amira

Ingredients

For the meat:

  • 1 Tablespoon ghee/unsalted butter.
  • 2-3 mastic pieces.
  • 2 pounds beef/lamb cut into 2-inch squares. See notes below for best cuts.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  • 1 medium onion quartered.
  • 1 (100g) Roma tomato quartered.
  • 2 (70g )celery stalks, cubes almost half a cup.
  • 1 garlic clove.
  • 1 large (60g) carrot cut into chunks.
  • Boiling water to cover.
  • 1 teaspoon salt I’ve used pink salt.

For the rice:

  • 1 Tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter.
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  • 2 cups (400g) short grain or jasmine rice.
  • 2 1/4 cup hot water/beef broth or a mixture.
  • Salt to taste.

For the sauces:

  • 1 Tablespoon ghee/unsalted butter.
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  • 5 large garlic cloves minced.
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar.
  • 2 cups tomato sauce.
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste.
  • 1 teaspoon 7-spice blend.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 3 cups beef/lamb broth divided.
  • 6 Pita bread loaves. more or less depending on your liking. cut into 1 inch squares.

Instructions

Boil the meat: Note1

  • In a deep pot melt butter or ghee over medium high heat, add mastic and stir until mastic pieces are melted.
  • Add meat cubes and brown all over.
  • Add the bay leaves, sugar, black pepper and cardamom, stir to combine.
  • Add onion, garlic, tomato, celery and carrots. Mix everything well together.
  • Pour in hot boiling water to cover. Remove any foam rising at the surface.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat. Cover the pot loosely and let simmer until done.
  • Set aside to cool down a bit, remove vegetables and bay leaves with a slotted spoon. Discard if you wish to or season the vegetables and eat.
  • Take the beef cubes out in a plate, cover and set aside.
  • Pour the broth through a sieve to strain and set aside as well.

Cook the rice:

  • In a pot over medium high, add butter and oil.
  • Wait for the butter to melt then add the rice.
  • Stir the rice for 2-3 minutes until it is all covered with the butter and oil mixture.
  • Pour in water or broth, season with salt and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and let it cook for 13-15 minutes.

Toast the bread: Note2

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Cut the bread into 1 inch squares. Arrange on a baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the center of your oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges and bottoms are crisp and golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and set aside.

Make the tomato sauce:

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.
  • Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned.
  • Add the vinegar and let the mixture cook for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat.
  • Remove about half the garlic on a small bowl and set aside.
  • Increase heat to medium again, pour tomato sauce, 7-spice blend, salt & pepper and mix.
  • Add the tomato paste and pour in one cup of the broth you have.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken.

Make the white sauce:

  • In another saucepan, pour in the remaining broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the garlic-vinegar mixture that we scooped out earlier.
  • Season with salt and pepper then turn heat off.

Brown the meat: (Optional)

  • In a skillet over medium high heat melt one tablespoon unsalted butter and add one tablespoon olive oil.
  • Add the meat cubes and brown from all sides.
  • Cover the pan while browning the meat cubes so they do not get too dry.

Assemble Fattah:

  • Place the toasted pita on the platter then drizzle with about 1 cup of the white sauce. Note3
  • Add the rice and level then arrange the meat pieces on top or around the platter.
  • Drizzle some tomato sauce on top.
  • Pour the remaining white sauce and tomato sauce on bowls and serve on the side.

Notes

Note1: If you have an instant pot it will save you some time.
Note2: Some people toss the pita squares in two tablespoons of olive oil before baking. You can also fry them.
Note3: This is the traditional way of serving the Egyptian fatal however, in my little family we prefer the bread less soaked in white sauce to stay crunchy. So I start by placing the bread, cover it with rice then I ladle white sauce over both of them.
Beef/lamb cuts to use: usually fattah is made with tough cuts like shank, brisket, neck, round or chuck meat.
Leftovers: If you have leftovers, place them in an air-tight container and refrigerate. The bread will not be crispy the next day though, although many people say that fattah bread should be soggy and soft, my family liked it crispy. So to avoid that I take out the bread from any leftovers and place them separately on another container. When ready to use I reheat them in the oven to retain dome of the crunch.
Serve fattah with:
A bowl of molokhia is very common to serve with fattah. Serve it with a side of green salad.
Please check the nutrition disclaimer policy.
Vitamins are in percentage value. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition

Calories: 674kcal | Carbohydrates: 41.9g | Protein: 37.9g | Fat: 25.7g | Saturated Fat: 7.9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.3g | Sodium: 891.8mg | Potassium: 865mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 4.3g | Vitamin A: 12.4IU | Vitamin C: 13.1mg | Calcium: 5.7mg | Iron: 30.3mg