Mirza Ghassemi - Persian smoked aubergines / eggplant dip

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A hearty appetizer from the Northern Iranian district, Mirza Ghassemi is essentially a dip for pita slices that is made with charred aubergines, garlic and tomatoes. 

I'm always eager to try my hand at different cuisines and Persian food was on top of my list. Not surprisingly because of the abundance of Persian restaurants in the Vancouver area and having friends who are always talking about their home cooked foods.

So for a simple vegetarian lunch that was Persian-themed, I made this easy and delicious dish to accompany Salad Shirazi and Javaher Polow, a beautiful jeweled rice.

Traditionally the aubergines in the recipe would be charred in a tandoor-like oven or on top of a stove. Sadly, my smoke alarms are way too sensitive for this tomfoolery, so in the oven it goes.

This recipe makes enough for 6 as a side dish.

3 large aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
Toasted walnuts, to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 220C or 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. With a sharp knife, pierce the aubergines in several places (deeper cuts where it is thicker).
3. Bake the aubergines for 45-50 minutes until softened.
4. Let cool until safe to handle, then chop into 1 cm chunks. 

5. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the garlic until browned.
6. Stir in the turmeric powder, tomatoes and tomato purée.
7. Cook until oil starts to separate from the mixture, this will take about 15 minutes.
8. Add the chopped aubergines, cook a further 5 minutes.
9. Make holes in the skillet and place the beaten egg mixture.
10. Wait until the egg has set, or cooked through, then mix.

Serve with warm pita bread.

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