Tag Archives: Lebanese cooking

Meatballs with Eggplant puree and Radish pesto

After a hectic week I unwind with experimentation of ingredients and spices. Weekends that have nothing to do with my technology work are a way to meditate, unwind and reconnect with living a simple life with natural clean organic cooking.

IAS_0627The weekend is always a time for me to center my energy. Some music, some reading , some quality grounded time with my soul mate and some poetry. Here is my Rumi inspiration from the weekend

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

 

——Rumi

With some ground lamb  and free range turkey from the local market I found flavors that yet again favor Mediterranean and Indian spices. My food always needs to be kicked up with some tang and some spice 🙂

For vegetarians, this can totally be made with veggie or lentil meatballs – try black lentils and zucchini.

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Summer is also a time to play with you dips and chutney. The beautiful red radishes sprouted in my garden and are a base for this amazing pesto.

IMG_6112Ah and the bread, the bread. So the very creative and inspiring Suzanne posted this pita recipe promising it to be super easy. And easy it was!!  I have made it twice already. Thanks Suzanne 🙂 Please do check out her blog and the recipe here.

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  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

a true fusion dish with lebanese and indian flavors

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  ln turkey
  • Combine the minced lamb and turkey
  • Add 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon gluten free pancake mix ( secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)

Eggplant puree

  • 3 Japanese eggplant
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 cloves whole garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Radish Almond pesto

  • 2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 fresh red radish with leaves
  • Handful of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup soaked and peeled almonds
  • 1 cup walnut or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated peel of 1 lime.

Directions

Meatballs

  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil, pancake mix and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside

Eggplant puree

  • Roast the eggplant over an open fire or on a broiler setting in your over until it is charred and the skin breaks.
  • Let is sit for a few minutes and remove the charred skin by hand collecting the pulp in a bowl
  • In a pan add butter or oil on medium heat and add the garlic and green chili.
  • In about 1 minute add the cumin and let the spices roast for about 2 minutes
  • Add the eggplant pulp and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add chopped cilantro and remove from heat.
  • Blend this with the tahini and add any additional water needed to make a paste.
  • Set aside

Pesto

  • Blend the ingredients together with salt to taste and set aside

Plating

  • In a large plate, spread the eggplant puree and top it with the meatballs
  • Pour the pesto and some extra glugs of olive oil
  • I topped it with chives, my homemade Hibiscus spice mix with a side of Pita and some extra pesto

For the perfect Pita recipe, check out my friend Suzanne’s blog.

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I am bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Co hosts this week are Monika, Everyday Healthy Recipes, and Juhls, The Not So Creative Cook.

Mahshi Batinjaan Bi Zayt – Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant

I am back again with yet another eggplant/aubergine dish. This one has its origins in Lebanese and Egyptian cuisines.  When I travelled to Egypt I think I tried out more stuffed vegetables that I could imagine and the inspiration for making this Lebanese recipe came from my travels and love of the middle eastern flavors and spices.

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This dish is called Mahshi Batinjaan. Batinjaan is eggplant. You can prepare the dish stuffed with meat or vegetable. I have used a stuffing mixed with rice. Any leftover stuffing can be cooked to a side dish.

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The eggplants here are small and cylindrical  ( Indian eggplants).

Chickpeas are easy to soak overnight and then cook in a pressure cooker for 10 mins.  I avoid the canned version but they can certainly be used here.

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I have also  used my “go to” cooking  companion – the pressure cooking for cooking the Mahshi. It really does make life easier. You can, however, slow cook in a pan – just add some extra water and time.

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Mahshi Batinjaan

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

  • 15 small batinjaan (eggplant)
  • 1  cup rice – washed1
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 1/2  cup chopped tomatoes ( canned or fresh)StuffedLebaneseEggplant4-1
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped zuchinni
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup canned chopped  tomatoes in juice

Putting it together:

  • Wash the eggplant and  cut thin slice from the round end, hollow carefully with small spoon, or an apple corer. Keep the stem/cap on, just trim it a bit. Sprinkle with some salt and set aside while you prepare the stuffing.
  • Make the stuffing by mix the rest of the ingredients and moisten with a cup of water – reserve the last 1/2 cup of tomatoes.
  • Stuff the eggplant.
  • Place 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes with their juices  in a pressure cooker.
  • Place stuffed eggplant on top of tomatoes in neat layers.
  • Cook under pressure 10 minutes, then simmer uncovered until mahshi are very tender and sauce has thickened
  • If the stuffing remains you can cooked it as a rice pilaf as I did to serve with the dish.
  • Sprinkle with some parsley and serve warm of cold.

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Sharing this at Angie’s Fiesta Friday with the fab cohosts  Julie @ Hostess At Heart and Ashley @ Too Zesty