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aubergine & kashk

Having prepared this recipe, or a few others before, definitely does not qualify me as an expert in Persian cuisine. However, i can call myself, with much confidence, a big fan of this beautiful cuisine. The rich and diverse ingredients tell the story of the historically and culturally enchanting times the Persian cuisine must have gone through and i’m  looking forward for more adventures preparing other recipes in the near future (i’ve already got a short list of the food that i would like to try).

Kashk is a type of a traditionally sun-dried yogurt used in the Persian cuisine as well in other ones, sometimes with a different name. And when i first came across this aubergine and kashk recipe, the sound of it reminded me a lot of a beautiful appetiser dish that we used to love eating at a small Turkish restaurant back in Dubai. So i was intrigued to try this one out. And not only this recipe did not disappoint, it simply exceeded my expectations for it is so delicious that i can’t even wait to prepare it again real soon. And i can tell you that i’m so happy to share it with you today, and i do hope that you will give it a try.

It is just worth noting that, being me, i lightly modified the ingredients and method of preparation from the ones in the original recipe in a way that made more sense to me, but i kept the original spirit and the great taste of the dish untouched.

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warm eggplant and capsicum salad

Cold winter days call for soul warming food. And with the beautiful, yet cold, winter that we have been living since a few weeks now, I find myself craving warm dishes, that taste a lot like home.
This warm eggplant and capsicum salad is quite easy and straightforward to make. It is an excellent vegetarian choice and can be prepared in very little time.

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the heavenly food of pomegranate jewelled aubergine mutabbal

 

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Mutabbal is one of my all-time favourite food, and when well prepared, I will have it anytime, anywhere…and all the time! An incarnation of simplicity yet richness, aubergine mutabbal is fresh, healthy, and needless to say, yummy.

You can prepare this mezze dish one day ahead, and thus save time for the preparation of other food, if any, on the actual day of serving it. As well, you would need to taste the aubergine to make sure it is not too bitter for food preparation. And while you may come across different ways and ingredients used in the preparation of this beautiful levantine mezze treat (different recipe here), mutabbal will always contain its one and only main ingredient, aubergine.

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For the Recipe

Ingredients

mutabbal:
1 medium to large eggplant, roasted
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt & pepper to taste

topping:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup chopped sparsely

  • Start by cutting the roasted aubergine into halves or quarters and then removing the skin using a knife. Move the aubergine onto a chopping board and chop it roughly (you can process the aubergine in a food processor, though not too much. But I personally love the bulky texture created by chopping the aubergine rather than processing it). Once chopped, move the aubergine onto a sieve and allow it to drain for about 15 minutes in order to get rid of the maximum amount of its juice.
  • Meanwhile, mix the yogurt, tahini, and lemon juice in a small bowl, till you get a smooth paste.
  • Move the chopped aubergine into a medium bowl. Add the yogurt and tahini sauce, crushed garlic, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Then mix all the ingredients till well combined. Keep it refrigerated, up to one day, till serving it.
  • To serve the mutabbal, move it onto a serving bowl or relatively deep plate. Sprinkle with olive oil, chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!

Bon Appétit!

Mini Mnazzallet Batenjane – Aubergine Bites

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Mini Mnazzallet Batenjane

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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.
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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.

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Fried mini aubergine halves

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Mini Mnazzallet Batenjane right out of the oven and ready for the final touches

For the Recipe
Ingredients
 
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!
      Bon Appétit!
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Heavenly mini bites