Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fetteh Badinjan

All the separate components of this are so good, the finished product can't fail. Right now I'm waiting for my dear sweet husband to come home so we can mix this all up and dive in.


1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
1-2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
1 tsp. dried mint
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt

3 cups plain yogurt
3-4 cloves garlic, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1 cup canola oil

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Chopped flat-leaf or curly parsley (I prefer flat-leaf)

Pita chips, store bought or homemade. I like Stacy's, but if I'm not in a hurry, homemade pita chips are divine. See recipe for fatoush for instructions.


First, prepare the peeled and cubed eggplant by sprinkling the salt over it, tossing well to coat, then allowing it to rest in a colander while you prepare the sauce.

To make the sauce, saute onion over medium/high heat until translucent, then reduce heat and add tomato, mint, pomegranate molasses, pepper and salt. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Simmer on low while you prepare the other ingredients.

Before you fry the eggplant, rinse off the salt and gently squeeze excess moisture from the eggplant with your hands. Pre-heat canola oil 1/4 cup at a time over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet until hot but not smoking. Carefully fry the eggplant in two batches to avoid overcrowding in the pan, turning when brown bits start appearing on the bottom of the pieces. You will notice that the eggplant absorbs quite a lot of oil, so after turning the eggplant, add another 1/4 cup. I know what you're thinking...just keep it to yourself. :o) Fry until golden brown, then transfer to a paper towel.

Drain any excess oil from the pan and toast the pine nuts until golden brown, watching carefully to make sure they don't burn. Remove to a separate dish, then saute the ground beef, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Fold the eggplant into the tomato sauce.

Now, layer!
Bottom: In a large, shallow dish, layer 3-4 cups pita chips.
Next: Spread the tomato/eggplant mixture over top.
After that: Yogurt mixture
Finally, decoratively arrange the ground beef, chopped parsley, and pine nuts on top 'cause it's purty and because then people can help themselves to their favorites.

Good cooks'll tell ya
My sweet mother-in-law says the proper way to do the eggplant is to really deep-fry it until brown, but I wimped out. But you can try it!