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.

Mnazelah

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

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

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.

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

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!

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.

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

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

Stir through the roasted eggplant and the chickpeas.

Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chickpeas through.

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