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Mnazelah

A Druze dish from Israel. The Druze religion was originally a movement within Islam and has been around since 1017 when it started in Egypt. In the traditional version the eggplant is fried. However, it soaks up a lot of oil and so this is the lighter alternative! It can be served as a mezze dish, a vegetarian main course or as part of a buffet.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 eggplant, about 1kg

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing baking sheet

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic

  • 4 tomatoes (or 1 tin diced tomatoes)

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon baharat seasoning (you may substitute 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg)

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Pinch of dried hot chilli flakes (or to taste)

  • 1 and 3/4 cup chickpeas, cooked or canned and drained

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Chopped Parsley or Coriander for garnish

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

  2. Cut the eggplant into thick slices and then into large chip like wedges. Drizzle olive oil liberally over hem in a large baking dish or on a tray.

  3. Roast for approximately 10 minutes. Turn the wedges over and roast for a further 15 minutes.

  4. If using fresh tomatoes, grate them into a bowl. Hold firmly and grate until all you have remaining in your hand is the skin. Discard the skin. Or, use a can of diced tomatoes - a lot less messy!

  5. Put a good glug of olive oil in a frying pan and fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another 5 minutes.

  6. Now add tomato paste and spices. Sauté these for several minutes.

  7. Add the tomato pulp. Season with a little salt and some pepper.

  8. Stir through the roasted eggplant and the chickpeas.

  9. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chickpeas through.

  10. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with coriander or parsley.