When I am hungry in the middle of the East-in the Middle East to be exact, one of the first things that come to mind is aubergine or eggplant. We fry it, grill it, stuff it and do countless other things with. But no matter how it is prepared, the Middle Eastern dishes of aubergine are always delicious. This dish, baitenjanah ala baitenjanah, or eggplant on eggplant, is perfect for eggplant lovers, as it is fried eggplant layered with a spiced meat mixture, and baked in the oven.
Baitenjanah ala baitenjanah was one of my favorite dishes my grandma would make, and it was one of the first dishes my cousins and I learned to make because it was simple, delicious and a perfect addition to any dinner party. Though, I do not know where it actually originated from. Almost every country in the region makes some form of eggplant with minced meat.
Making this dish is really straightforward, but there are a couple of variations to it depending purely on your preferences. You don’t want to overcook the eggplant during fry or baking as you will be cooking again with the meat.
I like to serve this with pita bread, but you can also serve it with rice, in that case, double the liquid before putting it in the oven to spoon over your rice. I also add a clove or two of minced garlic, and some yogurt to serve alongside. The combination is heavenly!
The eggplant over eggplant healthy delicious recipe
Are you a vegetarian and bothered by the meat? This dish can also easily be made vegetarian by layering the eggplant with tomatoes and peppers instead of the minced meat mixture.Print
Delicious Eggplant Recipe: The Middle East’s Queen Fry
A super tasty Middle Eastern eggplant recipe enjoyed across the region. Simple to make and heavenly in taste.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Cooking/baking
- Cuisine: Mediterranian
2 large aubergines
oil for frying
2 tbsp of oil used to fry aubergines
250g minced beef or lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp mixed spices
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Pine nuts (optional)
1 tomato, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 cup water, mixed with salt, pepper, 2 tsp mixed spices, and 1 tsp cinnamon
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Peel the aubergines. I like to remove alternating strips so that the aubergine remains intact. Slice the aubergines in 1-inch rounds, then fry and put aside. It does not need to cook through as It will continue cooking in the oven.
- To make the meat filling, use 2 tbsp of the oil used to fry the aubergines and add the minced meat. Cook until brown and remove any excess liquid. Add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and spices. Cook until meat is cooked through and onions are softened. Add the pine nuts and put aside.
- In a baking dish, place half of the aubergines and top with about 1.5 tbsp of the meat mixture. Top with another piece of aubergine and add more minced meat.
Place one slice of tomato and one slice of pepper on each aubergine round. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
- Pour the water into the bottom of the baking dish, making sure it is spread evenly. Cover with foil and cook for 20-30 minutes. You can add double the amount of water if serving with rice.
Serve over rice or with pita bread and garlicky yogurt and enjoy!
You can either fry or brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and pop them in the oven until soft.
Keywords: eggplant meat recipe, Middle Eastern food
This recipe is brought to you by the Middle East Monitor’s (MEMO) Maha Salah.