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MOUSSAKAA BATENJEIN "Cold Eggplant dish"

Moussakaa batenjein: No one knows what the exact origins of moussaka are, although it is widely believed that the Arabs introduced the dish when they brought the eggplant into the areas.

There are various versions of it, like in Greece and Turkey they cook it with meat while in the Lebanese cuisine it is a vegetarian dish made of thick grilled eggplant, chickpeas and tomatoes.

Moussakaa is distinctive with its garlic and onion tomato sauce. It is absolutely delicious and one of my favourite meal I guess I have so many favourites especially on the vegetarian side.

prep. time: 30 mins cooking time: 20 mins

INGREDIENTS: serves: 4

2 medium eggplant

1 large onion sliced into wings or chopped as you desire

1 large potato peeled and cut into 1 cm round pieces if desired

3 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped

2 cups of cooked chickpeas

2 tbsp. olive oil

5 medium garlic gloves cut into small pieces

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 to 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

PREPARATION: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the eggplants leaving 4 lines of skin separated from each other then sliced into 3 cm thick round pieces. This method of leaving part of the skin helps to keep the eggplant pieces steady.

grease an oven pan, arrange them making sure that both sides are brushed with oil than bake around 10 to 15 mins from each side or until light brown. Put the olive oil in a deep cooking pot, fry the onions and the pieces of garlic over until sautéed, add the tomatoes and let it simmer for few mins. Add the chickpeas then arrange the eggplant pieces on top. Now in a large deep bowl dissolve the tomato paste in a cup of water or a bit more if needed with the salt, allspice and cinnamon then pour them on top of the eggplant cover and simmer for 15 mins.

Moussakaa is usually prepared without potatoes, if you like to try it with, you can follow the same procedure except for cooking the potatoes ahead of time and adding more water and tomato paste. I prefer it myself without the potatoes, I enjoy the distinguished sweet taste of the eggplant.

This delightful combination is what makes this dish so unique. It’s easy to prepare, delicious and you can serve it hot or cold with pita bread on the side.


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