Eggplant stew (Mussaka)

A traditional vegan eggplant stew, this one is made with winter eggplants (which have very few seeds). In addition, the eggplants slices were merely roasted with a dab of oil, instead of fried as is the tradition. I am happy to report that foregoing the frying does not  take away the flavor; the mussaka (aka maghmoor) of my childhood swimming in oil is now a faded memory.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 cup of  chickpeas, soaked in 4 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of baking soda for 18 hours
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 large tomatoes (or 1 can of excellent quality tomatoes), sliced or cut into chunks
  • olive oil, as needed
  • spice mix: salt, dash of white pepper, 1 tsp of dried mint (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves (optional)
METHOD:
  1. Peel and cut the eggplants in thick slices then chunks; place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and preheat the oven to 350F. Drizzle the eggplant with some olive oil and roast for 30 minutes until the pieces are soft and golden. Set aside.
  2. Chop the onions; heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a pot and fry the onions until soft. Add the chickpeas to the pot with 2 cups of water and simmer for 40 minutes or so. Add the eggplant chunks and the sliced tomatoes. Add the spices (and whole garlic cloves). Let the stew simmer gently another 40 minutes; if the stew has too much liquid, let it simmer until the water evaporates and keep just enough juices to sop up with bread. Serve warm or at room temperature with pita bread.
Could not resist taking a snapshot of this man, relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, after I overheard him talking to his buddy of the wonderful eggplant and siyyadieh (fish and rice stew)  he had eaten earlier.
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23 Comments

  1. Mira
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    Yummy!! My favorite!! So glad u reminded me of this Joumana.. I gave up frying eggplants too. Instead, I slice – salt – pat dry – brush with olive oil – grill on panini. It works with any eggplant recipe. Tasty and healthy :)

  2. Posted March 7, 2012 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    A scrump0tious dish! Men know how to relax in Beirut….

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Alice K
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    One of my favorite dishes!!

  4. Posted March 7, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    One of my favorite dishes, too! This looks great, and I’ll have to try it: I didn’t realize winter eggplants have fewer seeds, which is a really helpful hint.

  5. Posted March 7, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I like the idea of roasting instead of frying. Will be making this without a doubt

  6. Posted March 7, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love this stew! Yum!

  7. Mark Wisecarver
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Love this. :)
    btw, You’re going to make me start my Foodie blog back up again.
    As a note, I make something very similar to this and spread it on my Sourdough Pizza’s, baked at a very high heat, the taste is absolutely amazing. All I add is a bit of spinach and crumbled Feta. (Sheep)

  8. Joumana
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    @Mark: Join the club! :) Hey that pizza sounds really yummy!

  9. Posted March 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, I think eggplants are underused in the kitchen, so thanks for the spotlight on this awesome vegetable. This is a great recipe for fresh eggplant, so healthy and obviously delicious. Thanks!

  10. Posted March 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I just want to grab some bread and plunge into this one. Bookmarked to make – tomorrow.

  11. Posted March 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Smiling. :)
    My recipes are still up but I just don’t like the way Posturous works for a Foodie blog, open to suggestions, love sharing my version of Old, Artisan and Healthy.
    btw, my Meat Pies made with Turkey are a big hit in Brazil.

  12. Joumana
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    @Mark: In Brazil? Tell me more!!!

  13. Posted March 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    That’s one delicious bowl of mussaka! Bookmarked to try it soon, thanks for sharing :)

  14. Posted March 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ll have to find the link again to the news blog there, my wife and kids were in Brazil over Christmas this past year. The beaches in Rio are busy with kids shouting “Esfiha!”, they sell them quick. :)

  15. Posted March 8, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I love this vegetarian version of a dish I only know with meat. And I could do without the frying no matter how delicious so it is great to know it doesn’t take flavor away from this dish. Lovely and one I will bookmark for the summer.

  16. Ed Habib
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of Syrian/Lebanese people in Brazil. When I was there I noticed many streets named after the Syrians and Lebanese. My Grandmothers brother settled there. Kibbee is a favored food in Brazil, in fact my local Brazilian market in Massachusetts sells kibbee.
    As far as the eggplant dish, I am making that tonight, looks great

  17. Joumana
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    @Ed: My grandmother’s brother settled there too, and three cousins are finally making a trip there to meet him; I think Brasil has the largest Lebanese immigrant population in the world (8 million or so).

    @Barbara: The Greek version has a béchamel sauce with cheese in it.

  18. Posted March 8, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Veggie-wise, I don’t think there’s anything I like better than eggplant. (Well perhaps fennel) My mother used to make a similar casserole…seems to me there was cheese in it.

  19. Posted March 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    After reading Mark’s comment, all I can think of is spreading this on sourdough bread! How delicious and healthy!

  20. Posted March 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    When I think of moussaka I always think of layering all the ingredients, but this one sounds so lovely and easy. LOVE eggplant. One in the fridge now and in the garden tis summer.

  21. Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Mmm une très belle recette!! Bonne fin de journée.

  22. Posted March 11, 2012 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    wow your crust pastry looks excellent! My wife will definitely try and let you know how it comes out. I didn’t know that A.U.B. is near the sea!! I took my B.Sc. from A.U.C. Have a good Sunday!! Or is it Friday?? God bless

  23. Joumana
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    @Stelio: Not only is the AUB near the sea, they also have their own private beach and pool there for the students and alumni to use.

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