Updated: Apr 20, 2020
In discussion with a client who is half Iranian, I became obsessed with finding the ultimate Middle Eastern aubergine, chickpea and tomato dish, to eat with a warm flat bread and a feta salad. None of my books came up with the thing I craved but I found this recipe by Tori Avey (www.toriavey.com) - an Israeli Mnazeleh so wholesome and delicious you could cry. Sadly, we ate it before I could take a photo, so you’ll just have to imagine it. Vegan and Low GL, with heart protecting cooked tomato, blood cleansing onion & garlic, this dish is full of vitamin C amongst other goodies so get roasting now...
You will need:
2 aubergines, chopped into large chunks
5 large fresh tomatoes, or a carton of crushed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 - 5 large garlic cloves
1 can of chickpeas, or 2 cups of cooked
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ tsp cumin powder
¼ cinnamon powder
large pinch of nutmeg
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chili flakes
In Middle Eastern cooking, aubergines are usually fried but this can make a dish quite oily. Here we’ve roasted them (with the garlic) instead and the result is smooth and delicious. So for this Mnazeleh, preheat your oven to about 180 degrees and lay the aubergine chunks out on baking sheet with the garlic cloves nestled between them. Season, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for about 25 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, gently temper the onions in oil, add the spices and follow with the tomato paste and a splash of water. Grate the tomatoes into a bowl, discard the skin and add to the dish with the chickpeas. Check the seasoning.You can up the chilis flakes of course.
When the aubergine and garlic are roasted to your liking, carefully squeeze out the garlic cloves and add to the Mnazeleh with the aubergine pieces.
Make this a day ahead and the flavours will intensify. Best with a flatbread, rice or quinoa and a dollop of natural yoghurt. Any cold leftovers make a great packed lunch with salad and crackers, cold or warmed through.