Smoked Eggplant with garlic (Mirzaqāsemi)

Submitted by:
Fatemeh Shams, Berlin, Germany
Persian Literature

Ingredients

4 large eggplants
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
Olive oil, enough amount for frying
3 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
Fresh spring onion and basil to be served alongside the dish
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed sea salt
2 tablespoon tomato purée
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
Small handful of broken walnut pieces, to garnish
Persian flatbread, to serve with the food.

Serves 3-4 people.

1. To get the best taste out of this dish, barbecue the eggplants on the open fire until blistered and the skin starts to peel off. You can also bake them in the oven for 50 minutes (220°C).

2. In the meantime pour enough olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and slowly fry the garlics until they turn golden. Make sure they are not burned or turned brown. Add the sliced tomatoes and slowly stir on medium heat and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Once the eggplants are baked/grilled, carefully peel them off and crush them in a bowl until they are softened.

4. Then stir the eggplants into the garlic and tomato and add the sault and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes. You can close the pan with a lid but make sure the heat is not burning the eggplants and tomatoes. At the end add the tomato purée.

5. Beat the eggs on top of the cooked eggplants and put on the lid for a few minutes until the eggs become opaque. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

You can garnish the food with crushed walnuts, spring onion and basils and serve it with bread.

It can be served cold or hot.

Noosh-e Jan! (Bon Appétit!)

Background

Living in exile makes you feel at home through sensors and feelings. Food has been one of the most important cures of exile for me over the years. I grew up in a household where a mix of Khorasani and northern (Caspian Sea) accents and customs were practiced. My father was an expert in making this particular dish and so was my mother. When we travelled to the north to visit my grandparents, my grandmother made this dish for breakfast and served it with fresh bread. These days, my father's health is tragically deteriorating due to Parkinson disease. Not being able to travel back home has been particularly devastating for me and I often find myself in the kitchen, cooking the recipes that I learnt from him since my teenagehood. The taste of this dish takes me to the most memorable moments of my childhood and adulthood. It makes me feel safe in moments of displacement and homesickness. I hope you enjoy it too.

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