Craving a dish that's packed with flavor and offers a variety of textures? Then the Egyptian Fattah is your answer! With its tender meat, fluffy rice, and crispy pita bread, all topped with a garlicky, flavorful tomato sauce, it's the ultimate Egyptian recipe you need to try!
Egyptian fattah or fatteh is a traditional dish that's not only filled with flavor but also has a beautiful, layered presentation that looks impressive every single time. No wonder it's served to celebrate just about any occasion in Egypt, especially Eidul Adha.
This delicious meat and rice dish is popular all over the Middle East and is also referred to as shamiyat in the Levant region. While there are many variations of this recipe out there, I'm going to share a classic, authentic Egyptian fatteh that you're going to absolutely love! And while you're at it, also check out my Egyptian fino bread, Easy molokhia, and Delicious koshari recipes!
❤️ WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Family favorite: Hearty and satisfying, this Egyptian Fattah is a hit with both adults and kids. The tender meat, flavorful rice, and crispy pita bread combine to create a dish that's sure to become a regular at your family table.
Delicious: With its rich, savory flavors, this Egyptian Fattah is an absolute feast! Each component - the spiced meat, the aromatic rice, the tangy tomato sauce, and the crunchy pita bread - contributes to a combination of flavors and textures that's irresistible.
Crowd pleaser: This Egyptian Fattah is not only a family favorite but a hit at parties and gatherings as well. It's a hearty, satisfying dish that feeds a crowd and leaves everyone asking for the recipe.
More details about the ingredients and measurements are in the recipe card below!
For the Stock:
Lamb or Beef Meat: This is the main protein in the recipe. Using medium cuts of either lamb or beef will provide a hearty, robust flavor to the dish.
Bay Leaves: These leaves add a subtle, slightly sweet flavor to the stock. They infuse the meat and the water with a unique aroma that is essential for the overall taste of the Fatteh.
Cinnamon Stick: A small piece of cinnamon stick gives a warm, sweet-spicy flavor to the recipe. It enhances the flavors of the meat and adds a comforting aroma to the dish.
Black Pepper Corns: Infuse the stock with a pungent, hot, and slightly sweet flavor. They give the dish a bit of a kick without overpowering the other ingredients.
Coriander Seeds: Add a warm, nutty, spicy, and slightly fruity flavor to the dish. They complement the other spices and contribute to the unique taste of the Fattah.
Green Cardamom: This spice adds a sweet, spicy, and somewhat floral flavor to the recipe. It gives the dish a bit of an exotic touch and pairs well with the other spices.
Whole Cloves Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent, slightly sweet flavor to the dish. It enhances the taste of the meat and plays a big role in giving the Fattah its distinctive flavor.
Onion: An onion cut in half adds a sweet, slightly sharp flavor to the stock. It also helps to balance out the strong flavors of the spices and the meat.
Ghee: This clarified butter gives the dish a rich, nutty flavor. It also helps in browning the meat and brings out the flavors of the spices.
For the Rice:
Calrose rice: This type of medium-grain rice is perfect for this recipe due to its sticky nature when cooked. It absorbs the flavors from the beef or lamb stock beautifully. Calrose rice is also known as Australian rice.
Beef or lamb stock: Used to cook the rice, this stock infuses a rich, meaty flavor into the grains, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
Salt: A basic seasoning that enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
For the Tomato Sauce:
Tomatoes: Pureed tomatoes form the basis of the savory sauce, providing a tangy and sweet flavor.
White vinegar: This helps to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes in the sauce.
Garlic: Minced garlic gives a punch of flavor to the tomato sauce, adding a bit of heat and depth.
Tomato paste: This concentrated tomato flavor intensifies the sauce, making it richer and more robust.
Coriander powder: This spice adds a warm, slightly citrusy flavor to the tomato sauce, enhancing its overall taste.
For the Pita Bread:
Pita bread: The pita bread cubes are fried until crispy, providing a delicious crunch to the dish.
Oil: Used to fry the pita bread, the oil makes the cubes crispy and golden.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE FATTEH
Preparing the Stock
Heat the ghee and brown the meat. In a pan, add the ghee. When it's hot, add the lamb meat. Fry the meat until it has brown patches on all sides.
Add the spices, onion, and garlic. Mix these ingredients on medium heat for about a minute. Pour enough water to cover the meat. Season it with salt.
Cook the meat. Let it cook until it's tender. This should take about an hour. If you're using beef, it might take a bit longer.
Strain the stock. Remove the meat from the stock and set it aside. Strain the stock and discard the spices, onion, and garlic. Keep the strained stock aside.
Preparing the Tomato Sauce
Cook the garlic and tomato puree: In a pan, add the ghee. When it's hot, add the minced garlic and cook on medium-low heat for about a minute. Pour in the tomato puree and stir for two minutes.
Add the spices and stock: Add the spices and stir for a minute, then add the tomato paste and the stock. Add the vinegar. If you don't have enough stock left, you can use a mixture of one cup of stock and one and a half cup of water. Cook the sauce until some oil comes to the surface.
Preparing the Rice
Wash and soak the rice: Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Cook the rice: In a pan, add the ghee. When it's hot, add the rice and stir for two minutes on medium-low heat. Pour the stock over the rice. If you don't have enough stock, you can use a mixture of half stock and half regular water, but make sure they're both boiling or the rice won't cook evenly.
Let the rice cook: Increase the heat to medium-high and season the rice with salt. When it comes to a boil, cover the rice tightly and let it cook on the lowest heat for seventeen minutes. Uncover the rice and fluff it with a fork.
Preparing the Fried Pita Bread
Fry the pita bread: In a hot pan, add the oil. When it's hot, add the pita bread cubes and fry until they're golden brown.
Serving the Fattah
Assemble the Fattah: On a plate, place some fried pita bread. Pour a few spoons of the sauce over it. Add a layer of the cooked rice, then a layer of the cooked meat. Finally, pour a little sauce around the meat and sprinkle some of the fried bread around the meat.
Enjoy your delicious Egyptian Fattah!
👩🏽🍳 PRO TIPS
Choose Your Meat Wisely: For the best Egyptian fattah, choose medium cuts of lamb or beef meat. These cuts are perfect for absorbing the flavors of the spices and will cook to tender perfection.
Use Fresh Tomatoes For The Sauce: Freshly pureed tomatoes give the sauce a vibrant color and a rich, full flavor.
Soak Your Rice: For the perfect rice texture, soak the rice for about 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. This ensures that the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the stock well.
Layer Your Fattah: When serving, layer the fried pita bread, sauce, cooked rice, and cooked meat for the perfect fattah experience.
Optional Meat Frying: As shown in the video tutorial, frying the cooked meat is optional, but it does add a beautiful color to the meat. Consider trying it for an extra touch of indulgence.
Add More Herbs: If you're a fan of aromatic dishes, try adding a handful of fresh herbs to the tomato sauce. Coriander, parsley, or mint would work beautifully. This will give your Egyptian Fattah a refreshing twist and add another layer of flavor.
Make it Creamy: For a richer texture, try adding a dollop of Greek yogurt or tahini sauce on top of the cooked meat before serving. This not only adds a creamy texture but also balances out the flavors with its tanginess.
Go Vegetarian: If you're looking to reduce your meat intake, this variation is for you. Replace the lamb or beef with a hearty vegetable like eggplant or mushrooms. You can still use the stock recipe but substitute the meat with vegetable broth for a vegetarian twist on this Egyptian Fattah.
🍽️ HOW TO SERVE
- If you're hosting a dinner party, Egyptian Fattah can be a show-stopping main dish. Pair it with a side of roasted vegetables or a simple green salad for a complete, satisfying meal.
- Looking for a lunch idea? Make Egyptian Fattah the star of your midday meal, served alongside a bowl of tangy yogurt or a refreshing mint and lemon drink.
- On a chilly evening, nothing beats a warm bowl of Egyptian Fattah. Pair it with a cup of hot mint tea for a comforting, satisfying dinner.
- For a delicious twist, try serving your Egyptian Fattah with a side of pickled vegetables. The tanginess of the pickles adds a wonderful contrast to the rich, savory flavors of the Fattah.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can use either lamb or beef for this recipe. If you choose beef, keep in mind that it may take longer to cook until tender compared to lamb.
Yes, you can. This recipe calls for Calrose, also known as Australian rice, but you can substitute it with any type of rice you prefer. Just ensure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
If you don't have ghee, you can substitute it with unsalted butter and oil. The flavor might be slightly different, but it will still work well in the recipe. Alternatively, you can even make your own ghee by following my recipe!
Frying the pita bread adds a nice crunch to the Egyptian Fattah, but if you prefer, you can toast the pita bread in the oven instead.
Yes, you can prepare the stock, rice, and tomato sauce in advance. Just ensure to heat them up properly before assembling and serving the dish.
Fridge: Store your leftover Egyptian Fattah in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Make sure it has cooled down to room temperature before refrigerating.
Reheating: When you're ready to enjoy your Egyptian Fattah, reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat. You can add a splash of water to help it regain its original texture.
Freezing: Unfortunately, Egyptian Fattah doesn't freeze well because the rice can become mushy and the meat can lose its texture. It's best to enjoy this dish fresh or refrigerated.
📣 MORE MIDDLE EASTERN RECIPES
⭐PLEASE RATE AND REVIEW
If you have tried this recipe and liked it, please give it a 5-star rating and leave a comment below with your experience!
FOR THE STOCK
- 500 grams lamb or beef meat medium cuts
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ inch cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon black pepper corns
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 cloves
- 3 green cardamom
- 4 whole cloves garlic
- 1 onion cut in half
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- Boiling water to cover the meat
FOR THE RICE
- 1 cup Calrose rice also called Australian rice
- 2 cups beef or lamb stock
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon ghee
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE
- 2 medium tomatoes pureed
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 3 garlic minced
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 ½ cup stock
TO FRY THE PITA BREAD
- 3 medium pita bread cut in small cubes
- 2 tablespoon oil
TO MAKE THE STOCK
- In a pan, add the ghee; when hot, add the lamb meat. Fry the meat until it has brown patches on all sides.
- Add the spices, the onion, and the garlic. Mix the ingredients on medium heat for 1 minute. Pour enough water to cover the meat—season with salt.
- It will take one hour to cook the meat until tender, but if you are using beef, it will take longer.
- Remove the meat from the stock and keep it aside. Strain the stock and discard the spices, onion, and garlic. Keep it aside.
TO MAKE THE TOMATO SAUCE
- In a pan, add the ghee; when hot, add the minced garlic and cook on medium-low heat for a minute. Pour the tomato puree and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add the spices and stir for a minute, then add the tomato paste and the stock. Add the vinegar. You can use 1 cup of stock and 1 ½ cup of water if you don’t have enough stock left. Cook the sauce until some oil comes to the surface.
TO MAKE THE RICE
- Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for 15 to 20 minutes.
- In a pan, add the ghee, and when hot, add the rice and stir for 2 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Pour the stock over the rice. You can use half stock and half regular water if you don’t have enough stock, but make sure they both are boiling, or the rice won’t cook evenly.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, season the rice with salt. Cover the rice tightly when it comes to a boil and let it cook on the lowest heat for 17 minutes.
- Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork.
TO MAKE THE FRIED PITA BREAD
- In a hot pan, add the oil, and when hot, add the pita bread cubes and fry until golden brown.
SERVING THE FATTAH
- Place some fried pita bread on a plate and pour a few spoons from the sauce. Add a layer of the cooked rice, add a layer of the cooked meat, pour a little sauce around the meat, and sprinkle some of the fried bread around the meat.