November 04, 2006

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant
This is a easy yet luxurious dish my Egyptian friend introduced me to. She brings this or stuffed peppers for lunch and has got me hooked on it. The stuffed peppers has rice also in it, but this is traditionally made with only ground lamb. Unlike typical Arab recipes, the ones she brings is a little spicy (she can outeat any chili afficianado) and so my recipe also called for more spice.
I also found a similar recipe in the Tyler's Cookbook I was discussing earlier. Again, since I had already tasted the authentic version, I was able to compare the recipes. The only change I made is to add paprika and Allspice powder. His version was quite accurate. Allspice berries are small dark brown hard berries which taste like a mix of all the spices together.. it has a sweetness, a sharpness and a woodsy taste too. I think the flavors would be fine without it as there is garlic, tomatoes and onions all merging together, but it balances the taste of meat. Substitute with a pinch of garam masala to add an Indian flavor to this old Arab favorite. The filling can be made with meat or without meat. Further stuffing options are listed below.

Cooking time:20 mins, Baking time-25 minutes.
You will need:
Eggplant- 3
Ground Meat (lamb/beef/turkey/chicken)-1/4 lb
Onions -1 small one chopped
Shallots-3-4 chopped
Garlic -3 cloves minced
Ground Allspice- ½ tsp
Paprika-1/2 tsp
Pepper-1/4 tsp
Green chilies-2 chopped finely
Tomatoes -2 peeled, seeded, diced
Lemon juice -1 tsp
Fresh Parsley- 1 cup chopped
Fresh Mint-1 tbsp chopped
Lemon- 1 sliced paper thin.
Salt to taste
Olive oil-3 tbsp

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the eggplant into two vertical halves. Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a non stick pan and fry the eggplant on all sides for a minute or two and remove onto paper towels. The skin has to just get seared, and the insides do not have to get cooked. After it slightly cools, scoop out the inner flesh from eggplants with a spoon, talking care not to go too much close to the skin. An even layer of the eggplant should be retained inside each shell. Cut the scooped flesh into chunks and reserve. The eggplant is still uncooked so will not scoop out easily. Do it carefully.
2. Sprinkle inside of eggplant shells evenly with salt. Place upside down on paper towels; let stand 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the pan again with the remaining oil. Cook garlic and onion over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the ground meat and stir till it gets broken up evenly, about 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, green chilies reserved eggplant flesh, paprika, pepper, and allspice. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until eggplant is just tender, about another 5-10 minutes. Season the filling mix with salt and stir in parsley and lemon juice. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
4. Pat eggplant shells dry with paper towels. Spoon about 1 tbsp of the eggplant mixture loosely into shells. Spray a large shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Place the eggplant, cut side up, into the baking dish in one layer. Top each eggplant with the thinly sliced lemon. Drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil on each eggplant. Bake for about 25-35 minutes until eggplant is fully tender. Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, sprinkle parsley and serve.

Other Possible Stuffings:
a. Above filling mixed with cooked rice and toasted pine nuts.
b. Cottage cheese(paneer)sauted as above instead of meat.
c. Just the eggplant-tomato mix itself, omitting the meat.
d. Mushrooms cooked with tomatoes and topped with grated cheese.
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Bittu's Mamma said...

It was a nice surprice to see your comment at my blog! thanks for visiting dear :) you have a nice blog and I used to visit here often (but never commented). And the eggplant looks so yummy, saying I should give a try :)

Maheswari said...

Eggplant looks delicious...i have never gone out of the ususal south indian eggplant dishes...this inspires me to try new..will try soon...

indosungod said...

Shaheen, I remember eating this while in Egypt and used to love it called "Betingan Mahshy". Egypt was one country where I did not miss Indian food and though I was there 3 months did not have time to explore all of their foods.

I am sure going to make this and also probably dust out the Egyptian cook book I bought there.

indosungod said...

Shaheen, in my excitement on seeing on Egyptian food, forgot to mention your photo looks absolutely gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

eggplant is a big 'no no' in my house. but this looks interestin enough for a try. is the pepprs also with the same fillin/method?

ps: did i mention u r doing a gr8 job, shaen

Lakshmi said...

i have to try this one, Shaheen.
By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog.

Sandeepa said...

this eggplant looks wowwww
beautiful pic and lovely recipe

sra said...

Hi Shaheen, is there an Indian name for allspice?

Nandita said...

Suggestion appreciated and accepted! And I do love steamed cakes :) Bring in the Vatteyappams Shaheen, I'm waiting eagerly for an authentic recipe for that yeasty steamed delicacy...

This one sounds good, though Im vegetarian, i can think of other stuff to going onto the edit mode to add steaming only worry is I can't deal with a truck load of steamed idlis :)

BTW how did you get those cute 'pirated' smilies besides some names?

Krithika said...

Another lovely recipe, Shaheen. I think I will make it with Paneer with lots of masala.

Trupti said...

That is one good-lookin' dish!

gattina said...

I remember when I was a kid, my mom always cooked eggplant with red meat, the combination was very good. After reading your comments on those spices, I'm very interested to try. Btw, who don't stock up ground beef in here :P

Anonymous said...

Wow! looks very good. I will be definitely trying this one out. Shaheen, Please keep posting such non-naadan recipes too. thanks a lot.

I've seen stuffed pepper recipes in food channel and other local channels and always wanted to try it but I haven't yet. Hope you'll post that recipe too.

It's amazing that after work, you still could find time to cook such awesome recipes for you and your family and also share with us in your blog. Very good!


Foodie's Hope said...

That 'BABY' looks big , Shaheen!:) Looks delicious nevertheless. Photo is gorgeous as usual!Will try. you know, I am a eggplant fan!;)

Shaheen said...

bittu's mamma:Good that u decided to comment.. Its always nice to know who is at ur door, right?Hope u will keep writing.

Mashewari: If u like eggplant, u will like this.

Indo:Thanks,Your excitement is heartwarming. Do cook up something Egyptian that u had eaten to complement this.

Ki,stuffed peppers is a little different. I have to try it a couple more times before I perfect it. This is so small, u can make it with tomatoes for others and with eggplant for yourself.

Lakshmi, Welcome and thanks!

Sandeepa, Thanks and I hope u will try it.

Sra: I got Allspice from the indian store and it didn't have any other name. So I guess thats what it is called.

Nandita,: Try with a veggie stuffing. the pirates are from blogrolling.

Krithika, I t will be good with paneer. My veggie friends make it like that.

Thanks Trupti!

gattina, Eggplant has a meaty texture which goes well with meat and the rest of th efilling i stuffed into some zucchini boats.That was also good. i am cutting down on ground beef now so looking for alternatives.

Rg: glad that u like non nadan recipes too,. Nadan recipes feed my nostalgia while these easy recipes are also growing on me. Sometimes it is fun to eat different cuisines and get it right.

Asha, hmm,. u are right, u do have a lot of eggplant recipes. The photo is zoomed in so the baby looks like a baby elephant!!:)

Nabeela said...

Oh I'm so glad you made this recipe...have been meaning to make it for a long long time now...but didn't dare for fear of it not turning out that I have a tried recipe, i'm willing to give it a go

Vani said...

What a beautiful picture that is! And any recipe eggplant is doubly interesting!! :)
Thanks for sharing.

shilpa said...

Wow....thats a great recipe Shaheen. Never tried something like this. Thanks for sharing...

Shankari said...

Shaheen, I have tasted something similar to this and that had crushed peanuts to give it that extra crunch..your picture yummmmmm

burcu said...

Your eggplant made me homesick. We have the same dish in Turkey which we call "karniyarik" (literaly translates as 'split belly'). We never use allspice in stuffed eggplants, but the idea sounds appealing.

Rachel said...


Meeta said...

Looks completey scrumptious Shaheen. A must try recipe - I was actually thinking of making something oriental for the weekend. This could be perfect.

Chandrika said...

A very unique recipe and a very lovely photo!

InjiPennu said...

That looks gorgeous! Cant wait to getback on my feet to start trying all these. Also, for pathiri oridinary rice flour will do? or i have to get pathiri podi itself?

Shaheen said...

Inji,Oh it was so good to hear from u..where are u ? are u ok? as for pathiri podi, try with rice flour, but depending on the type of rice they used for grinding, sometimes it comes out very hard.. so i just go with pathiri podi itslef.. try a small batch first.

RP said...

Where did you buy the pathiri podi shaheen? I looked at my local indian grocers, and they don't have it. They have puttupodi, idiyappampodi, appam podi, idli podi etc..but no pathiripodi. :(

Alice said...

Thanks! I will try it tomorrow.

Sofia said...

I tried your recipie today with ground beef, and with a few slight variations because I didn't have all the ingredients (I subbed cilantro for parsely, green onions for shallots, used half a jalepeno...)I also used a cube of maggie. I have to say that this is a wonderful, delicious, and mouthwatering recipie. I will definately be making this dish often. It's fast and easy. I absolutely loved it! Thanks :)