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Lamb and Aubergine Fatteh
Lamb and Aubergine Fatteh
Over 2 hours

This stunning fatteh recipe from Jikoni's Ravinder Bhogal demonstrates all of the complex flavour balancing and processes that go into this ancient Levantine dish: "Fatteh is a layered feasting dish. This one features lamb, aubergine and pulses, ladlefuls of garlic-spiked tahini yoghurt sauce and spicy tomato salsa, all topped off with fried shards of flatbread, pine nuts and almonds – and that most iconic Middle Eastern ingredient, pomegranate. This is a great recipe for a crowd. With every bite, your guests will luxuriate in different flavours."

Jikoni: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from an Immigrant Kitchen (Bloomsbury Publishing, £26) is out now. Photography by Kristin Perers.

Recipe courtesy of
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken up
  • 2 tsp allspice berries
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 6 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 red onions, unpeeled, cut into quarters
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, halved crossways
  • 2 aubergines, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 × 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 2 Lebanese flatbreads
  • Groundnut oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • Seeds from 1⁄2 large pomegranate
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Handful of parsley leaves
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the sauce

  • 250g yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

For the salsa

  • 1 heaped tsp Turkish pepper paste (biber salcasi) or good-quality harissa
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • Large handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp Turkish pepper flakes (pul biber)
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried mint
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  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large flameproof casserole over high heat and sear the lamb shanks all over. Add the cinnamon, allspice, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, peppercorns, onions and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Pour in 1.5 litres of water, then cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
  2. In the meantime, place the sliced aubergine on a lined baking sheet, drizzle over the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until soft, then set aside.
  3. Make the sauce by simply mixing all the ingredients together.
  4. For the salsa, put the paste, oil and lemon juice into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined, then add the tomatoes, red onion, green pepper, parsley, sumac, Turkish pepper flakes and dried mint.
  5. Take the lamb out of the oven and add the chickpeas, then cover again and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
  6. Using scissors, cut the Lebanese bread into bite-sized shards. Fill a large, heavy-based saucepan a third full with the deep-frying oil. Heat the oil to 180°C – if you don’t have a thermometer, you will know the oil is ready when a cube of bread turns golden brown in 20 seconds. Fry the flatbread for 1 minute, or until golden and crisp, then drain on kitchen paper.
  7. Heat the ghee in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the almonds and pine nuts until golden and toasty, keeping a close eye on them as they can quickly burn. Drain on kitchen paper.
  8. To serve, lift the lamb shanks out of the casserole and onto a chopping board. Shred the meat with two forks, then lay over a serving dish. Fish out the chickpeas with a slotted spoon and tumble over the lamb, along with a few ladlefuls of the stock to moisten the lamb. (Keep the rest of the stock to make soup another time.) Cover the lamb and chickpeas with the aubergines, arranging them in a single layer, followed by the tomato salsa and dollops of the yoghurt sauce. Finish with the fried flatbread, almonds, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, sesame seeds, sumac and parsley.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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