I first got wind of this dish on Kano’s blog and was immediately interested; the idea to top eggplant dip with a thick ground meat and tomato sauce sounded delicious; it is apparently a specialty of the city of Hama in Syria. I’d like in passing to send many prayers to the innocent people of Syria whose suffering is very real and very acute; hoping that their ordeal will not last too awful long.
The eggplant is smoked on an open flame (preferably); if you have a gas stove, it takes 15 minutes and you need to flip the eggplant every few minutes until the skin is blackened all over; let it rest or cover it with foil; peel it when it is cooler, drain it over a sieve and mash it. Mix it with the yogurt, tahini and garlic. Finally, top it with the meat sauce. Serve as a main course dish or a mezze item, with pita bread on the side.
NOTE: I forgot to garnish with the toasted pine nuts, which is traditional.
1 lb eggplant
1/2 cup yogurt
3 Tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic, mashed in a mortar with 1 tsp salt
Meat layer: 1/2 lb ground meat
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, mashed with salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
salt, to taste 1/4 tsp black pepper
chopped parsley to garnish
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Char the skin of the eggplant over a gas flame or on a grill; otherwise, use the broiler; when the skin is totally black, remove from the heat, cover with a plastic bag or foil and when cool peel it and drain it over a sieve. Mash the eggplant and mix with all the other ingredients; spread on a platter.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet; fry the onions for 10 minutes over medium heat; brown the meat over the onions then add the tomato sauce, pomegranate molasses, garlic, pepper and simmer for 15 minutes over gentle heat. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts and parsley and serve over the eggplant. Serve with bread on the side.
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