janet @ the taste space

Lebanese Eggplants with Tomatoes and Chickpeas

In Appetizers, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on September 28, 2010 at 6:02 AM

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.

Lebanese Eggplants with Tomatoes and Chickpeas (Moussaka’a Menazzaleh)

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.

Lebanese Eggplants with Tomatoes and Chickpeas (Moussaka’a Menazzaleh)

2 eggplants
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 large tomatoes (about 1 lb), skinned and chopped (I didn’t skin them, but it would be a useful step)
2 teaspoons sugar (I would omit this next time)
fresh ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
19-oz can of chickpeas
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (omitted)

1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and then into 1 cm slices. Brush them generously with oil, sprinkle lightly with salt, and cook them under the broiler for up to 15 minutes, or on an oiled griddle, turning them over once. They do not need to be cooked through as thy will be stewed further in the sauce.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for seconds only, stirring, until it just begins to color. Add the tomatoes and squash them gently in the pan. Add the sugar, salt, and black pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Add the pomegranate molasses, put in the eggplants and chickpeas, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the eggplants are soft, but not falling apart.

3. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley, if using.

Serves 4.

  1. What an absolutely beautiful site you have! And so many mouth watering pictures! :)

  2. Your photo makes this look very good. I’m always looking for additional eggplant recipes – in the summer we have so much of it.

  3. I love love love your blog! It’s not just the layout, but I love how beautiful and healthy your food is! Just bookmarked it.

  4. Wowww i love lebanese foods much, tempting dish.

  5. I seriously need to remember to pick up some pomegranate molasses – I have been seeing it in so many recipes! I had something wonderful this week with eggplant and chickpeas as well but I bet that ingredient adds a whole new level of complexity.

  6. I love how there’s always such a good mix of flavors in Middle Eastern foods…from sweet to savory to tangy to salty. They are a complete package. I love this dish. I just boiled up a few cups of garbanzos…guess what I’ll be making soon!

  7. hat looks killer, Saveur! I’ve been spending hours juggling Middle Eastern cookbooks today, trying to hone in on a recipe for my own MLLA post. I kinda think it’s going to be Lebanese, too. : }

    Thanks for another great dish for MLLA! (And the inspiration. ; })

  8. Hi,

    Quick question: did you use two of the huge American eggplants, or two of the smaller (Japanese or Middle Eastern-style) eggplants?

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Ellie, I used long slender Ontario eggplants. More akin to the Japanese variety (a bit plumper) but definitely not as big as the deep purple ones. Probably around 2lb total.

  9. i’ve been wanting to get my hands on Arabesque. This is a lovely dish including both my faves Aubergine & Chickpeas. Thanks so much for join Beth & me at the mingle this month. I hope to see you more often!

  10. I love this dish!! I used to eat it a lot in Lebanon!

  11. I have a bottle of pomegranate molasses from some Muhammara I made a while ago and I was wondering what to do with it – chickpeas and eggplants are some of my favourte things and a warming stew like this is probably just what the doctor ordered in cold cold Austria where I am. Beautiful.

    • Hehe, I started the same way! I bought the pomegranate molasses for Muhammara and then looked to see what else I could make with it. It is one of my favourite ingredients now! :)

  12. Just made this and it is AMAZING! Soo sooo good! Thank you!

  13. […] making quite a few excellent dishes with eggplant, it is not an ingredient I turn to instinctively. It is probably because I almost […]

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