Mini Mnazzallet Batenjane
The beautiful world of Levantine Cuisine
I can’t believe it’s taken me forever before finally being able to sit down and write this post (food was prepared, shot, and happily devoured more than a week ago :)). But last week was so busy it would have been totally impossible for me to write down not even one single letter. For as you must have most probably guessed by now, kids were off from school for a whole week and things have been a bit too crazy around at home. But happily, they are back to their beloved school now and life is back to normal this week. So here you go with a beautiful dish that I have been waiting impatiently to share on the blog.
And while I bought those baby aubergines with the intention of preparing mini Moussakka bites (I guess this will have to come in a future post), I ended up preparing a similar dish, suggested by my husband, and which I’m glad I made: Mnazzallet Batenjane. Mnazzallet Batenjane is normally made of fried aubergine slices topped with meat and chopped tomato, hence the similarity with Moussakka.
Mini aubergine halves soaked in salty water
Besides being delicious, these heavenly bites (it hardly takes two bites to devour them) can be prepared the day before (mise en place of the ingredients) and then assembled the next day (or when it is time for them to be served). And they are perfect food option for gatherings and get-togethers. And the final touches of pomegranate and parsley sprinkles not only enriches the dish’s colors but also flavors.
Fried mini aubergine halves
Mini Mnazzallet Batenjane right out of the oven and ready for the final touches
For the Recipe
6-7 baby aubergines, halved & soaked in salted water
oil for frying
300 g minced meat
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried mint
1 tsp sweet spices
1 tbsp good quality pomegranate molasses
salt & pepper to taste
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts
Seeds of half a pomegranate
a handful of roughly chopped parsley leaves
- Remove the baby aubergines from water and discard of any excess water.
- In a medium pan, heat oil for frying. Fry the baby aubergine halves till golden brown (I personally like them fried, but grilling the aubergine halves in the oven is another way to prepare them). Place on kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil, and set aside till meat topping is ready.
- In a wide frying pan, heat the olive oil and then sauté the onion. Stir continuously till onion is caramelized. Add the minced meat. Cook for a few minutes before adding in the molasses, spices, and dried mint. Give it a good stir and continue to cook till meat is thoroughly cooked.
- Heat the oven to 180°C. Lay the fried aubergine halves on a non-stick baking tray (or you can cover a baking tray with parchment paper as I did). Divide the meat on top of the aubergine halves. Top them with the chopped tomato & pine nuts.
- Place the tray in the oven for about 15 minutes (pine nuts would start to get golden brown). Remove from oven and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds & parsley leaves. Serve immediately and indulge!
Heavenly mini bites