One of the most popular dishes in the near-east is makloubet al-batenjan: It is a casserole of rice and lamb chunks encased in eggplant slices. To die for. I made a lighter dish and it is meatless. No less delicious it was gobbled up in no time. Eggplant, coarse bulgur, tomatoes, onions and chick peas.
- 1 or 2 large eggplants
- olive oil as needed
- 2 large onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- salt, pepper, dash of cinnamon, dash of allspice
- 1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 can of chick peas, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups of coarse bulgur (#4)
- 1 cube of vegetable bouillon (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or red pepper paste (optional)
- Peel the eggplant and slice; sprinkle with salt and let them sit for 30 minutes.
- Pat dry and fry them in hot oil till limp. Dry with paper towels and set aside till needed. Season a bit.
- Soak the bulgur in water for 30 minutes while you make the tomato sauce.
- Chop the onions, dice the tomatoes and heat some olive oil. Fry the onions in the oil till golden, add the tomatoes, season and cover the pan for about 30 minutes.
- Mash the garlic and add to the tomato sauce. Stir a bit. Add the bulgur and the chick peas, stir, add some water (about 2 to 3 cups) and the paste if using and close the lid; bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and check seasoning and if the bulgur is all cooked. If not, cover and cook a few minutes more, adding more water if needed.
- Line a bowl with plastic wrap. Line the bowl with all the eggplant slices, overlapping them if needed.
- Fill the bowl with the bulgur mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. when ready to serve, you can either reheat a bit in the microwave or serve at room temperature. Yogurt would be nice with it.
- Flip the bowl onto a serving platter. Enjoy! Sahteyn!
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