Eggplant stew (Mussaka)

March 7, 2012  •  Category: ,

A traditional vegan eggplant stew, this one is made with winter eggplants (which have very few seeds). In addition, the eggplants slices were merely roasted with a dab of oil, instead of fried as is the tradition. I am happy to report that foregoing the frying does not  take away the flavor; the mussa3a (this is also called maghmoor) of my childhood swimming in oil is now a faded memory.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 2 large eggplants or 1 1/2 lb of smaller eggplants, peeled (can leave a ribbon of skin unpeeled for looks), sliced into 1 cm pieces or chunks, or sprinkled with salt for 30 minutes then dried with a towel
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced 
  • 6 large tomatoes (or 1 large can of excellent quality tomatoes), cut into chunks
  • olive oil, as needed
  • spice mix: salt, dash of white pepper, 1 tsp of dried mint (optional) and a dash of sugar or a trickle of honey if desired, can also use some Aleppo pepper or a bit of chili powder to taste (if you like a little heat)
  • 6 to 12 garlic cloves left whole and 4 cloves cut-up and mashed with salt

  1. Place the eggplants on a cookie sheet lined with foil and preheat the oven to 350F. Drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil (or brush) and roast for 30 minutes or until the pieces are soft and golden. Set aside.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a pot and fry the onions until soft and golden.  Add the garlic cloves and fry them for a few seconds until light golden; add the chickpeas and the tomatoes. Simmer 15 minutes, then add the eggplants and the spices (including the mashed garlic). Let the stew simmer very gently another 40 minutes until thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature with bread.
Could not resist taking a snapshot of this man, relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, after I overheard him talking to his buddy of the wonderful eggplant mussak3a and siyyadieh (fish and rice stew)  he had eaten earlier.


23 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Mira says:

    Yummy!! My favorite!! So glad u reminded me of this Joumana.. I gave up frying eggplants too. Instead, I slice – salt – pat dry – brush with olive oil – grill on panini. It works with any eggplant recipe. Tasty and healthy 🙂

  2. Rosa says:

    A scrump0tious dish! Men know how to relax in Beirut….



  3. Alice K says:

    One of my favorite dishes!!

  4. Meister@Nervous Cook says:

    One of my favorite dishes, too! This looks great, and I’ll have to try it: I didn’t realize winter eggplants have fewer seeds, which is a really helpful hint.

  5. Nuts about food says:

    I like the idea of roasting instead of frying. Will be making this without a doubt

  6. Rachana says:

    I absolutely love this stew! Yum!

  7. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Love this. 🙂
    btw, You’re going to make me start my Foodie blog back up again.
    As a note, I make something very similar to this and spread it on my Sourdough Pizza’s, baked at a very high heat, the taste is absolutely amazing. All I add is a bit of spinach and crumbled Feta. (Sheep)

  8. Tom @ Tall Clover says:

    Joumana, I think eggplants are underused in the kitchen, so thanks for the spotlight on this awesome vegetable. This is a great recipe for fresh eggplant, so healthy and obviously delicious. Thanks!

  9. Sally - Custard Pie says:

    I just want to grab some bread and plunge into this one. Bookmarked to make – tomorrow.

  10. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Smiling. 🙂
    My recipes are still up but I just don’t like the way Posturous works for a Foodie blog, open to suggestions, love sharing my version of Old, Artisan and Healthy.
    btw, my Meat Pies made with Turkey are a big hit in Brazil.

  11. Kiran @ KiranTarun.c says:

    That’s one delicious bowl of mussaka! Bookmarked to try it soon, thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Mark Wisecarver says:

    I’ll have to find the link again to the news blog there, my wife and kids were in Brazil over Christmas this past year. The beaches in Rio are busy with kids shouting “Esfiha!”, they sell them quick. 🙂

  13. Jamie says:

    I love this vegetarian version of a dish I only know with meat. And I could do without the frying no matter how delicious so it is great to know it doesn’t take flavor away from this dish. Lovely and one I will bookmark for the summer.

  14. Ed Habib says:

    There are a lot of Syrian/Lebanese people in Brazil. When I was there I noticed many streets named after the Syrians and Lebanese. My Grandmothers brother settled there. Kibbee is a favored food in Brazil, in fact my local Brazilian market in Massachusetts sells kibbee.
    As far as the eggplant dish, I am making that tonight, looks great

    • Joumana says:

      @Ed: My grandmother’s brother settled there too, and three cousins are finally making a trip there to meet him; I think Brasil has the largest Lebanese immigrant population in the world (8 million or so).

      @Barbara: The Greek version has a béchamel sauce with cheese in it.

  15. Barbara says:

    Veggie-wise, I don’t think there’s anything I like better than eggplant. (Well perhaps fennel) My mother used to make a similar casserole…seems to me there was cheese in it.

  16. Susan says:

    After reading Mark’s comment, all I can think of is spreading this on sourdough bread! How delicious and healthy!

  17. Margaret says:

    When I think of moussaka I always think of layering all the ingredients, but this one sounds so lovely and easy. LOVE eggplant. One in the fridge now and in the garden tis summer.

  18. Culinaire Amoula says:

    Mmm une très belle recette!! Bonne fin de journée.

  19. Stelio Mamatis says:

    wow your crust pastry looks excellent! My wife will definitely try and let you know how it comes out. I didn’t know that A.U.B. is near the sea!! I took my B.Sc. from A.U.C. Have a good Sunday!! Or is it Friday?? God bless

    • Joumana says:

      @Stelio: Not only is the AUB near the sea, they also have their own private beach and pool there for the students and alumni to use.

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