Özlem Warren’s Patlicanli Mercimekli Mualla Recipe
Özlem Warren brings a taste of Southern Turkey to our shores with her delicious aubergine & lentils based dish
- 180 gr / 1 cup green lentils
- 2 medium eggplants (aubergine)
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 400 gr / 14 oz (a can of) chopped tomatoes in juice
- 50 ml/ about 2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup olive oil and
- 45 ml / 3 tablespoons of olive oil to saute eggplants
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried mint (spearmint)
- 240 ml/ 8 fl oz / 1 cup water
- Crusty bread to serve
Put lentils in a pan of boiling water, stir and cover. Simmer in low heat for 15 minutes. Drain its water and set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants in zebra stripes. Cut the eggplant in half length ways and then cut each half into medium thick slices. Spread them on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for 15 minutes. With using paper towel, squeeze excess water out of eggplants.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and very lightly sauté the eggplant slices for a minute or two. This will help eggplants to soften up and start bringing out their lovely sweet flesh.
In a large bowl, combine the partially cooked lentils, onion, garlic, bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, salt, mint, olive oil and the sugar, mix well. Season with ground black pepper, check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.
In a wide heavy pan, place a layer of the eggplant slices. Spread the half of the vegetable mixture over the eggplants evenly. Place the remaining of the eggplant slices over the top and spread the remaining vegetable mixture over. Add the water, cover and cook in medium to low heat for about 40 minutes.
Once cooked, cover and cool the dish in the pan. Serve at room temperature with some crusty bread – Afiyet Olsun!
Tips and facts on Eggplant (Aubergine):
1) This wonderful vegetable (actually fruit, as it has seeds) has about 90 % water, which makes it low in fat and calories. You need to get rid of the sour juice of the eggplant before cooking. You can do that by salting the eggplant slices, and squeezing the sour juice out using a paper towel.
2) You can’t eat eggplants raw but once cooked, the flesh becomes meaty and sweet; which makes a great vegetarian option.
3) We Turks love eggplants; we grill it, broil it, bake in the oven, smoke it and even make lovely jams out of it! As nation’s favorite vegetable, it is believed we have over 200 recipes featuring the beloved eggplant, patlican.
4) When shopping for eggplants, look for bright dark purple color and a healthy green stem. It should feel heavy for its size. Try to get a small to medium size eggplants as they tend to have less seeds.