More than hummus: Learning to cook Middle Eastern food
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:57PM EST
MONTREAL--Suzanne Husseini walks Mutsumi through her new cookbook, Modern Flavours of Arabia, and its tips on how to cook some Middle Eastern classics, as well as a few dishes that you may have never tried before.
A recipe for Moussaqa’a
Moussaqa’a in Arabic means “cold.” This is how it is best eaten. It is made with a little olive oil and is vegetarian. In Turkey and Greece there are also tasty versions of this dish. This is my take on this classic. It is so simple to prepare. Both the sauce and the eggplants can be prepared ahead of time and assembled in minutes.
- 12 servings
- 3 large eggplants • ¼ cup olive oil and peanut oil mixture
- 2 Tbsp olive oil • 1 onion, chopped fi ne
- 6 cloves of garlic, sliced thin • 12 tomatoes, diced
- 1 tsp allspice • 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp sugar • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- salt and pepper • about ¾ cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Peel the eggplants and cut lengthwise (about ½ inch thick). Brush both sides with the oil mixture and place on a baking sheet. Roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes in total, flipping them over halfway. Remove to cool completely. In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the diced tomatoes, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper. Allow to come to a boil. Add the drained chickpeas to the tomato sauce. Lower the heat and leave to simmer and thicken slightly (about 5 minutes). Lastly, stir in half the amount of pine nuts and set aside.
To serve, put one slice of roasted eggplant on a platter, spoon the tomato chickpea sauce over the thicker side and fold over to cover the fi lling. Proceed with the other slices. Garnish with mint and the remaining toasted pine nuts. Serve with a salad. Moussaqa’a can also be a great side dish with any grilled meat.