This is a great dish for friends as it looks sumptuous and feeds a lot of people without breaking the bank. I usually make it with chicken or lamb but this vegetarian version is just as good.
You can use pumpkin (saute cubes of it until golden and soft) instead of aubergines.
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour
Six to eight
For the roast tomatoes
- 16 large plum tomatoes, halved lengthways
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2½ tbsp harissa
- 2 tsp soft light brown sugar
For the fatteh
- olive oil, for frying
- 2 aubergines, chopped into chunks
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed
- 2 red chillis, halved, deseeded and finely chopped (or use dried chilli flakes)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, plus 1 crushed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 130g long grain rice, rinsed well
- large handfuls of roughly chopped parsley and coriander
- 2 toasted pitta pockets, broken into pieces
- 25-50ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
- 300g Greek yogurt, not too thick
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped pistachio nuts or toasted pinenuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5.
- Lay the tomatoes in a single layer in a roasting tin or ovenproof dish. Mix together the oil, balsamic and harissa and pour over the tomatoes, coating them well. Arrange cut-side up, sprinkle with the sugar and season. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until caramelised in patches and slightly shrunken. Cover to keep warm.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the aubergines until golden, soft and cooked through (do this in two batches). Season and transfer to a bowl.
- In the same frying pan heat another tablespoon of oil until hot and saute the chickpeas until they are toasty-smelling and golden brown in places. Turn the heat down and add the chillis and three chopped garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic is golden. Squeeze some lemon over all this, season and add the aubergines back to the pan, off the heat.
- Heat half a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and saute the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the spices and cook for two minutes, then stir in the rice. Add enough water to cover by 3cm and bring to the boil. Boil, uncovered, until the top looks ‘pitted’ with little holes and you can’t see the water any more. Turn the heat right down, cover the pan and allow to cook for 10 minutes. The rice should be just tender.
- Fork the grains to separate them and check for seasoning. Cover to keep warm.
- Assemble the elements of the dish: the aubergines with the chickpeas (quickly reheat these), the rice, tomatoes, herbs, torn pitta and hot stock. Mix the crushed garlic clove with the yogurt.
- Fill a large, broad bowl with two layers of each element (the order isn’t important), using a little of the warm stock to moisten everything as you go, squeezing on lemon and sprinkling the herbs likewise.
- Finish with chickpeas and aubergines, followed by some yogurt on top.
- Drizzle over any red oil left in the tomato roasting tin and scatter on the nuts, if using. There is a mixture of temperatures in this dish and the contrast is one of the best things about it, so get it to the table as quickly as possible.