In what city in the world can you get this meal delivered to your door? That is what happened today when I called my caterer/friend/neighbor, Rima @RimRam Gourmet and asked her to help me out.
Rima, whose is a true Beiruti, specializes in many traditional dishes and cooks herself once a month at Tawlet, Kamal Mouzawak’s famed restaurant.
What I got today was fattet al-makdoos, the most exquisite eggplant dish you will ever taste. The eggplants are silky and melt in your mouth, the yogurt and tahini sauce blanket them and the fried pita croutons and pine nuts provide crunch. Heavenly.
This is not Rima’s recipe, just a template to make your own if you decide to.
INGREDIENTS: 4 servings
- 8 small baby eggplants
- 1/3 pound of ground meat
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 2 cups of yogurt
- 1/4 cup of tahini
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1 pita bread
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
- salt, to taste; 1 tsp of allspice and a pinch of cinnamon
- oil, as needed
- Peel the eggplants (or peel off just bands of skin for a prettier look). Sprinkle with salt and place in a colander while you fry the meat. Place the meat in a skillet and brown, separating the meat with two wooden spoons to keep the meat small. Sprinkle with spices and stir then transfer to a sieve and drain of all extra fat. Add a pad of butter to the skillet and fry the pine nuts until golden for just 4 minutes or so watching them so they don’t burn. Set aside.
- Pat the eggplants with paper towels. Add 1/2 cup of oil to the skillet and fry the eggplants on all sides until tender. Drain the skillet of all the oil and slit each eggplant with a sharp knife to form a pocket. Insert the meat (a tablespoon or so) inside and place the eggplants side by side in the skillet. Add the tomato sauce and season. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes over very gentle heat.
- In the meantime, mash the garlic with a dash of salt and add to the yogurt; mix in the tahini. Cut the pita into small croutons with scissors and toast in a 300F oven on a baking sheet until golden-brown. (You can fry them which is traditional, although more calorific).
- Assembly: Serve the eggplants with their sauce, covered with the yogurt sauce, the toasted pine nuts and the pita croutons.