This is our mussaka. It is eaten at room temperature and does not contain any meat! Totally vegetarian! Only small and sweet eggplants, onions, garlic, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and a taste of mint.
It is the kind of dish to prepare for a party because it can be made a couple days ahead and is served buffet-style. You can also serve it as an appetizer at a formal dinner, spooned on toast or pita triangles. It can also be eaten as a sandwich stuffed in a pita with a couple of green onions.
This recipe comes from Al-Tabkh Al-Arabi, Khatwa Khatwa from Lina Bassam Shbaro
INGREDIENTS: The quantity will serve up to 8 people.
2 lbs eggplants, preferably small ones
2 lbs vine tomatoes or 1 32oz can of Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 lb of onion, chopped
2 tsp of mashed garlic or toom (garlic paste) and 6 cloves of garlic, peeled (more or less, to taste)
2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans or 1 can, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes or 1 red chili pepper (optional)
A handful of fresh mint or 2 Tablespoons of dried mint
1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil or olive oil
- Wash and dry the eggplants; if you are using large eggplants, cut them in medium slices and sprinkle salt on them for 30 minutes then rinse them and dry them really well. If using small ones, simply cut them in chunks and dry them well with a paper towel. Heat up to 1/4 cup of oil in a saute pan, and slide the eggplants in the pan carefully, maintaining a cautious distance. Fry them on all sides for about 5 minutes till they get tender and nicely browned. Remove from the pan and dry them with several paper towels to take as much of the oil off as possible. Set them aside.
- In a deep pot, heat 1/4 cup of oil, add the chopped onions and saute for 15 minutes until golden. Add the chopped tomatoes, garbanzo beans, garlic cloves and spices (sugar, red pepper flakes, salt). Cook at a gentle simmer about 30 minutes.
- Add the eggplant and continue cooking at a slow simmer another 15 minutes.
- Mix the mint (fresh or dried) with the mashed garlic. Add to the pot, mix it well throughout and cook briefly for another 3 minutes. Remove the chili pepper.
- Serve at room temperature, either on its own or with rice or on toasts as an appetizer. Also excellent with grilled kafta kebabs. Sahteyn!
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