Eggplant and ground meat sauce (Batersh)

May 22, 2013  •  Category:

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.



Spring in Chouf


24 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Nuts about food says:

    I have been trying to cut down on carbs a bit recently, but meat sauce is a favorite of my kids and I have a lot of frozen ground meat in the freezer. Also, one of the only ways my daughter likes eggplant is baba ghanoush style, so this sounds like a recipe that would make us all happy. It sounds delicious!

  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    The open flame makes this perfect!

  3. Rosa says:

    A tasty combination!



  4. Jamie says:

    What a fantastic recipe! I love all of the flavors and can just imagine how good this is. Problem is, would I have to share it? Gorgeous dish, again, Joumana!

  5. meriem says:

    Elle est excellente cette recette Joumana, j’aime cette façon si originale de présenter ce plat. Mes prières aussi au peuple syrien, que cette guerre insensée cesse enfin! A bientôt!

  6. Tom | Tall Clover says:

    Joumana, I love eggplant and Taste of Beirut is my favorite “recipe book” for this garden delight. I think “eggplant recipe” is my default request for your search button. Another winning recipe, thank you!

  7. samir says:

    so many complex and intruiging flavors and textures..from the earthiness and smokiness of eggplant..the nuttiness of tahini, tang of the sweet and sour of pomegrante syrup and tomatoes and the richness of the mince and crunch if the nuts..have to try this but sadly cant find a good pita bread round or wont be as have to make own.. the bread needs to be FRESH soft pliable and lean and sans chemicals.makes such a diffenrce and thats not the case round here in florida,, ….ty for sharing

  8. Lisa the Gourmet Wog says:

    The eggplant looks impossibly smooth! How delicious

  9. Sherri says:

    This looks delicious! I’ve never prepared eggplant this way. I look forward to trying it.

  10. Susan says:

    No only delicious but, as always, so beautifully presented!

  11. Nidal says:

    May I ask a small question on the temperature of service of this dish?
    Is it warmly served or cold?
    It is with regard to the first party of this dish ” Mutabal ” , who is usually served cold, (I guesse!), that I am asking this question.

    • Joumana says:

      @Nidal: The meat and tomato sauce is served warm, as soon as it is ready; sprinkled with pine nuts and chopped parsley; the eggplant is going to be warmed up by the sauce, but it is not warm after being prepared (with the addition of yogurt and tahini and garlic).

  12. Oui, Chef says:

    Not just beautiful, but healthy too….my kind of dish!

  13. Nidal says:

    Merci pour cette précision, Joumana.
    Je suis sensé ne pas poser ce genre de question, connaissant les habitudes culinaires du moyen Orient, y compris grâce à la lecture de récentes recettes de ton excellent Blog comme le “Batenjane-be-laban” ou le succulent “Shawarma on Hummus”…Mais, que veux-tu, c’est la déformation de la perception des choses et des goûts, suite à un séjour prolongé en Europe qui dure depuis plus de trente ans qui me fait m’interroger, par fois, sur cette conception méditerranéenne de la cuisine …
    En fait, mais je peux me tromper, cette notion de décliner ce mode de cuisson “chaud et froid” dans un seul plat est très peu répandue dans la cuisine européenne, pour ne pas dire quasi-inexistante. Cela peut se vérifier dans les entrées (First course) ou dans les plats de résistance (main dish). C’est ou chaud, ou froid, rarement les deux….Paradoxalement on peut trouver cette notion dans les desserts…Une boule de glace de vanille sur une tarte Tatin très chaude (un vrai délice..) ou dans un dessert français très classique qui n’existent plus de nos jour, je veux parler de l’Omelette Norvégienne, ou l’on met la glace carrément dans un four chaud à 250°C.
    Enfin, tous ça pour dire, en soulignant que le débat contradictoire est une chose saine, que je ne serais pas un grand fan de ce plat, car premièrement, nous avons affaire, dans cette juxtaposition/opposition entre la sauce à la Bolognaise et le Moutabal, à deux préparations à forts caractères, riches en saveurs, en arômes et baroques toutes les deux…avec une multitude de saveurs et de textures propres à chacune d’elles.
    Une prochaine fois…Si tu me le permettras…Je pourrais parler de ma perplexité face à l’utilisation assez répétée de la viande hachée dans notre cuisine Orientale….
    Mais je promets, je m’arrête là pour aujourd’hui, car, je sens que je risque de ne pas me faire que des amis, si je continue…(Un Grand Smiley)

    • Joumana says:

      @Nidal: personellement, je ne trouve pas ce plat lourd; au contraire. en fait, je l’interprète comme une extension du mezza; on prend une bouchée de mtabbal, puis une autre de kibbé, etc..

  14. Natasha says:

    A very good use of eggplants!

  15. Alicia (foodycat) says:

    This looks so good! I have everything but the yoghurt. I might have to make this tomorrow!

  16. Tammy says:

    Bookmarking this one for when the eggplant come in. We get so many and my kids fuss about them. This dish looks like I might be able to “hide” them.

  17. Needful Things says:

    Anything with eggplant in it is bound to be super delicious and I’m always finding ways to incorporate more of this vegetable into our meals. Looks like a winner!

  18. Caryl Neufeld says:

    I want tot try this, but can I do it with no meat? What can I substitute?

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