Wait! Deja vu? Eggplants, tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, beans… I think we just saw this as the delicious mualle, the Turkish Eggplant, Tomato and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate!
I really liked how the mualle turned out so I wanted to try make something similar again, while tomatoes and eggplants were still in season. I found this in Arabesque by Claudia Roden, and was drawn to it by its simplicity. Mualle takes a while to make and it works because the flavours are just bursting from the slow braise. However, I can’t make it every day. This dish, which has many of the same ingredients, comes together quicker, especially if you use canned chickpeas.
There was a sweet and tart play with this dish, from the sweet braised tomatoes and the tart pomegranate molasses. I liked the heavier presence of chickpeas, which is how I love my salads. If you wanted to spice things up, I don’t think you could go wrong with adding some mint or Aleppo chili flakes. The tomatoes cooked down to a sauce, so unless you don’t mind tomato peels, it would be better to take a few extra moments to skin the tomatoes (blanch then peel).
I served this as a vegetarian main with a slice of bread, but Roden has it listed as a mezze (starter or appetizer) and explains it could also be a side for a meat dish.
This is my submission to Nithu for this month’s Cooking with Whole Foods featuring chickpeas, this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook, and to this month’s Monthly Mingle, featuring Lebanese cuisine.
Here is my second dish with pomegranate molasses and I think I am slowly falling in love with this sweet-tart sauce.
This is a Lebanese dish from Arabesque by Claudia Roden where eggplants are baked until soft, then coated with a pomegranate vinaigrette and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley. It is a very simple recipe for a simple dish. In fact, the tastes are rather subtle which is why I enjoyed it. This is meant to be a dish as part of a mezze (appetizer) spread and can be served hot or cold. I preferred to use it as a sandwich topper. It was delicious cold, heaping over a toasted bagel for breakfast. The recipe says the pomegranate seeds are optional but I think they really made the dish stand-out. They explode with little bursts of flavours when you bite through them.