This recipe is subtle, with a delightful taste. It is inspired by an Ottoman recipe, and unlike the Greek recipe, despite the similarity in names. It is a pleasant variation on cooking the eggplant, the star of vegetables.
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut in chunks (1 lb)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
9 oz. Onion, peeled, thinly sliced
10-12 small cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole and thickly slivered
4 oz. chickpeas, soaked overnight, rinsed, drained and pre-cooked for 1 hour
1 lb tomatoes, rinsed, peeled and quartered
1 ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1 teaspoon dry spearmint
1/3 pint water
Trim the green tops of the eggplants, peel and cut in large chunks. In a pan heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and sauté the eggplants for a minute or two until golden brown. With a slotted spoon remove to a dish and reserve. To the pan add the remaining oil, the onions and the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly until pale in color (approx. 3 minutes), adding more oil if necessary. Add the chickpeas and stir occasionally for 5 minutes longer. Return the reserved eggplants to the pan. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle the salt, black pepper, the dry spearmint, and add the water. Bring to the boil and quickly reduce the heat to moderately low. Cover for 30-40 minutes.
Serve warm or cold. Eat with whole-wheat bread or pita as a starter or a main dish.
Makes 3 to 5 servings.
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