Eggplant in yogurt sauce (Batenjane be-laban)

eggplant in yogurt sauce

The recipe for this dish was generously shared with me by a lady chef who told me that it comes from Tripoli, Lebanon’s Northern coastal city. It is simpler to make than other eggplant and yogurt dishes and just delicious; the eggplant is silky and the cooked yogurt sauce light; the ensemble is divine. Recipe courtesy of Chef F. Hassan.

fry eggplant

INGREDIENTS: 4  to 6  servings

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 lb ground beef or lamb
  • 1 lb yogurt
  • cilantro pesto (1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, 4 cloves of garlic, salt, olive oil) optional
  • spices: salt, to taste, pinch of black pepper, 1/2 tsp allspice 
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • oil, as needed


1. Peel the eggplants; cut into long strips; sprinkle with salt and let them spit out their brown juice; pat dry with paper towels. Heat 1 cup of oil in a large skillet and fry the slices for a few minutes on each sides until golden and soft. Drain on paper towels or dip in a pot of simmering water for one second, then drain on paper towels. 

2. Heat one tablespoon of oil and fry the onion till golden; add the meat and brown, add the spices and stir to combine well. Set the meat aside. To cook the yogurt: dissolve one tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl and mix in one egg white.  Add this mixture to the yogurt and stir continuously until the yogurt thickens a bit. Add the cilantro pesto if using. 

Assembly: Lay the eggplant slices in  an ovenproof dish; ladle the yogurt over the eggplant, then the meat mixture;  sprinkle the pine nuts. Serve immediately. 

betenjane bel-laban

NOTE: You can serve this with yogurt, as is, without cooking it or adding the cilantro pesto. 

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  1. samir
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    beautiful pics..exquisite recipe….ty u for sharing

  2. Sam
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Love it, and so nutritious high protein dish, sorry no left overs for I couldn’t stop eating till all was gone!

  3. Posted May 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Why is it when I can’t wish hard enough for my summer eggplants to stop producing that I am not seeing recipes just like this one (smile). The meat (especially lamb) and cilantro pesto-the flavors are swimming. This is a beautiful meal.


  4. Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Quel plat magnifique ! Je note l’idée tout de suite … pour dans pas longtemsp ! ;o)))

  5. Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Joumana, what an elegant presentation for such a wonderfully fresh dish. I love eggplant and am always on the lookout for new recipes to incorporate them. Thank you , Merci!

  6. Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Magnificent! 3 ingredients; eggplant, yoghurt and meat can produce a most wonderful and tasty meal. Thanks for sharing.

  7. weavethousandflavors
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Joumana dear, How I thought of you a few days ago – my neighbor bought this dish along sans the meat and sans the pine nuts and I knew I had to look up your version of the dish. Your looks superb and I am absolutely making this over the summer.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. nidal
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    What about garlic? My late mother used to cook
    this excellente dish with a lot of garlic

  9. nidal
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I am sorry, I did not see that garlic was in the recepie. “Cilantrp Prato”. In my mother family (who id originated from bosnia), this dish was called “iam bayilma”…i am not sure of the ortographe.

  10. Joumana
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    @Nidal: you probably refer to imam bayilda? I think it is from the Ottoman days (Turks).

  11. nidal
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Mille mercis, joumana, pour cette très intéressante précision. Effctivement, la famille de ma mère a quitte la Bosnie suite au déclin de l’empire ottoman. Tu peux, aisemment, imaginer l’influence de ce brassage sur mon vécu culinaire. D’autant plus que les différentes composantes de cette famille se dispersées entre le Liban, la Syrie et la Palestine…ce soir, en regardant ton blog depuis la Baule (France), je prepare des pigeonneaux fermiers cuits en cocotte avec des pommes de terres nouvelles, petits pois et des navets. Demain, je fais du poulet confit aux oignons et au sumac. En entrée il y aura des huîtres et des langoustines. Hier, j’ai acheté de la sole pêchée en mer 30 minutes auparavant par mon pêcheur du moment
    . Je m’attendais a quelque chose de magique (du point de vue du gout et de la fraîcheur, mais le miracle ne s’est produit…

  12. Joumana
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    @Nidal: Quel passé fascinant! et ton interêt pour la cuisine aussi! tu devrais commencer un blog culinaire. ce serait très intéressant.

  13. Posted May 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Is there no end to the versatility of the eggplant….it is just amazing!

  14. Posted May 9, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    I remember making an Ottolenghi recipe a while back with eggplant and yogurt sauce and it was really a wonderful combination so I can only imagine how good this might be!

  15. Posted May 9, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Un régal que ces aubergines cuisinées de cette façon et de plus très beau visuellement…

  16. SYLVIA
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    This eggplant meal is a great dish that has a wonderful texture and is super satisfying.

  17. Posted May 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    This sounds wonderful and the cilantro pesto, meat and pine nuts are delicious additions!

  18. Posted May 12, 2013 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    That aubergine looks so perfectly cooked! What a wonderful dish.

  19. A. S. K. M
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Please quote me with the recipe of Kossa Billaban
    Thank you.

  20. Joumana
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    @ASKM: sorry I am not clear what you are looking for? do you need the recipe for koossa bellaban?

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