These baby aubergines are part of the Lebanese mouneh or preserving and pickling process for the winter months. They are vegetarian, gluten-free and so moreish. I’ve heard it’s a good idea to eat them straight from the jar, oil dripping all over your chin and your once-worn silk ruffle shirt, not even giving it a moments notice- till the jar is empty.
Then you’re screwed. No, I’m not speaking from experience.
But, you can also try serving them as part of a tapas or alongside pasta or rice. They are also good with labneh cheese. You can also use the stuffing with cabbage leaves.
Batinjan Makdous- Lebanese Preserved Stuffed Aubergines
- 2kg baby aubergines- preferably white.
- 4 heads of garlic- pounded
- 120g walnuts or pecans
- 15g coriander, finely chopped
- 1/2 pomegranate-seeds
- 540ml olive oil
- 1 hot pepper, if desired
- 3 canning jars-700g weight
- About 1 tablespoon rock salt
Look at the color of these beautiful babies! Look for eggplants with a shiny outer skin and ditch any with wrinkles or blemishes in the skin. Ask how long it has been off the vine so you can judge how old it is. Be sure it is firm to the touch.
Start by peeling off the green stems. Leave the bottom root as it is.
Place the aubergines in water and bring to a boil. Cook for a maximum of 10 minutes.
Drain the aubergines, let cool for 30 minutes. It’s important to drain the aubergines from all the water they’ve soaked up, otherwise they will turn out sour.
Create a small vertical opening in the middle of the aubergine by slicing it with a pairing knife.
Now, cover with a plate or a tray and push down on the aubergines to help release any excess juice/water. Let them sit on the counter overnight. You can put a few plates to apply additional pressure.
The following morning begin pounding the pecans or walnuts, into small chunks
add the pounded garlic, salt and the finely chopped coriander
Mix and then add the pomegranate seeds
add about 40ml olive oil and mix well.
Take the well drained aubergines and gently widen the small openings you created earlier.
and stuff with about 1 teaspoon of the filling.
If you’d like to add hot pepper, then slice them thinly.
Layer the stuffed aubergines into a 700g jar or the likes, adding 2-3 hot pepper slices in between each layer.
Invert the jars at an angle (lean them onto a small ramekin in the center of the plate) onto a plate to remove more of the juices/water. Leave them for a few hours, till more juice is released.
Now flip the jars back upright and pour over the olive oil.
Use a spoon to gently wiggle the aubergines, allowing the oil to evenly spread. Add more olive oil till they are all covered.
Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth. Tightly twist the lid on and keep in a dry cool place for 5 days before consumption.
They will keep for up to 1 year. Serve at room temperature. They do not need to be kept in the fridge once opened. Whatever you do don’t even try to send me your dry cleaning bill!