Monday, 1 September 2008

Mualle: Turkish eggplant, tomato and lentil stew with pomegranate

I was searching for the source of a spicy Turkish tomato dip recipe I'd printed out but not got round to making (soon, though, as the tomatoes are already past their summer's best!), when I came across this lovely looking Turkish stew on the delish-looking Turkish food blog Almost Turkish.

With lots of lovely summer veggies AND pomegranate molasses, I put the tomato dip idea aside and jumped on this instead. And it really is glorious. I cooked mine under low pressure in the pressure cooker for 30 min, but it could easily have been less (I'll be trying 20 min next time). Even at 30 min, the lentils and the eggplant didn't turn to mush, and the latter was that a silky-smooth, unctuous texture you usually only get from frying them in copious amounts of olive oil. Score one for Burcu at Almost Turkish for this healthier alternative! Since there is no water in this recipe, I gave the pressure cooker a good shake from time to time at the beginning of cooking. Nothing stuck to the bottom of the pot, and a lovely thick sauce had formed when I opened it up.

Since the Young Man is back (wahoo!), I didn't add the full quota of chillies in the recipe, so my version has just a warm back note. Also, my pom molasses is a sweetish variety, so next time I'll probably add some lemon juice as well to tarten things up a bit. I also upped the fresh mint in this. I used fresh peppermint, but perhaps the dried would have been better afterall.

Either way, this truly delicious and totally virtuous dish is definitely a keeper.

Mualle: Turkish eggplant, tomato and lentil stew with pomegranate

3-4 long narrow eggplants, peeled in lengthwise stripes
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 long thin green chilli (or to taste), seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
4 tbsp fresh mint, chopped or 2 tbsp dried mint
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
salt [S: I used maybe 2 tsp]

1 Peel the eggplant partially, leaving lengthwise strips of skin. Cut eggplants in 4 lengthwise. Chop every piece crosswise into 3. Place them in layers in a sieve, sprinkling salt between the layers as you go. Let them stand for an hour to remove the bitter juices [S: I did it only as long as it took to get the rest of the ingredients pot-ready]. Squeeze out any excess juices by hand.

2 Bring green lentils to a boil with 2 cups of water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

3 In a bowl, mix tomatoes, green chillies, onion, garlic, mint, salt, crushed peppers, and tomato paste.

4 Coat the bottom of the pressure cooker with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Put 1/2 cup of the veggie mix on the bottom. Cover with half the eggplant, then half the lentils, and half the remaining veggie mix. Top first with remaining eggplant, then with lentils, and then with veggie mix.

5 Pour the remaining olive oil down the side of the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the pomegranate molasses over the top.

6 Bring the stew to a boil. Put on the lid and bring to pressure, then reduce the heat to low and pressure cook for 20-30 minutes, shaking the pot from time to time to prevent the stew sticking to the bottom.

Mualle is good with rice and yogurt.


PS The spicy tomato dip recipe is here.


Burcu said...

I'm glad you liked the dish; that's one of my favorites, too. I'm also impressed with your imam bayildi. I wish Haci Abdullah had a restaurant in the States, too.

Nadine said...

I made this dish last week, it is delicious!! thank you for posting