Being not Jewish, this dish introduced me to Kosher cooking. Before googling kosher cooking, I couldn't tell you what differed kosher from "normal" cooking, but reading up about it made me think that my dish was anything but kosher while being kosher. I did not follow the rule of using utensils that had not been in contact with non-kosher foods, the ground beef I used was most certainly not slaughtered in accordance to kosher rules and I know I have used the pots and pans to cook pork.
Now that I know more about kosher cooking, I feel really bad about not following the rules. I feel like a bad Jew, without being Jewish. Does that make sense? I guess it's my inner foodie coming out, and this foodie's respect for different food cultures. But unfortunately, what's done is done. And I wasn't about to go out and invest in a whole new set of pots, pans and utensils.
Even though I didn't have a proper recipe, I just had the scribbles I made while watching Planet Food: Israel and Palestine where they cooked the dish, I set out to give it a try. With no exact measurements and the episode on pause/play on the TV I managed to create a lovely dish. It wasn't as spicy as I had hoped it would be, but this can easily be fixed next time I make the dish by simply adding more spices!
By the way, you might be wondering what this dish is called in terms you might understand. I don't have the direct translation, did I say I'm not Jewish?, but it's something along the lines of "Eggplant stuffed with meat in spicy tomato sauce"
The recipe calls for simple ingredients and does not require you to be a master-chef. However, if you do not happen to live in a place with easy access to the Hawaij spice mix you will have to make it yourself. I made it myself, I wouldn't even know where to look for it here...
1 medium-large eggplant
400 g ground beef, kosher or non-kosher depending on your preference
1 small chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tsp sweet paprika
1-2 tsp Hawaij spice mix
1 red bell pepper
1 bay leaf
2 medium chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
Set the oven to 220C.
1. Start off by making the meat stuffing. In a bowl, place ground beef, chopped onion, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, one egg and a good handful of breadcrumbs. Mix gently but well. Set aside.
2. Cut the eggplant into 3 cm thick disks. Then, take each disk and cut as if you were cutting the disk in half to create 2 disks. But instead of cutting all the way through, cut as if you were cutting a sandwich, so that the two pieces are still connected at the bottom.
3. Roll the meat filling into golf ball size balls and stuff each eggplant sandwich with a meatball. Press down on the eggplant sandwish, and mould the meat so that it fits snuggly inside the eggplant.
4. Once you have done step #3 with all the eggplant, roll the eggplant sandwiches in the seasoned flour (flour+salt+pepper), then in the egg (which you have lightly whisked in a bowl), and last but not least you roll the sandwiches in the bread crumbs.
5. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the eggplants until golden brown and crispy on the outside. The meat should still be mostly raw. When golden and crispy, remove from heat and place in oven proof dish.
6. While the eggplants and browning up in the skillet, make the sauce.
7. In a saucepan, fry the onion, garlic, sweet paprika and Hawaij spice mix in a little bit of oil until the entire kitchen is filled with the most wonderful smell, about 3-5 minutes.
8. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to reduce for 5 minutes. Add in the tomato puree and about 1 to 1 ½ dl of water and bring to the boil. At this stage taste the sauce and add more spices if needed.
9. Pour the sauce over the eggplants and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 45 minutes. If the top starts to burn, cover with aluminium foil.
10. Serve with rice.