The Mediterranean Lifestyle - English

Vegan Masak'aa

Mediterran­ean STEWED EGGPLANT and peppers

- By NOHA EL-SHARKAWY @sugarandga­rlic www.sugarandga­ Bil Hana Wil Shifa!

INGREDIENT­S 1 cup green or brown lentils, washed 2 Asian eggplants, sliced 1⁄2 inch/1,5 cm thick circles 2 tbsp canola oil or olive oil 1 medium onion, sliced 2 peppers, sliced 2 tomatoes, quartered 3 cloves of garlic, minced (2 tbsp) 1 cup of diced or crushed tomatoes (jar or can) 1 tbsp ground cumin spice 4 tbsp of white vinegar 2 tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 cup of water (room temperatur­e)


1. Bring a pot of 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the lentils and allow to boil for about 10 minutes, until halfway cooked, but not completely. Drain completely. If you bite one, it should be soft on the outside but firm on the inside. It will continue to cook once added to the masak'aa pan.

2. Lay the sliced eggplant on a kitchen towel or paper towel and salt it so that the bitter water is drawn out. After about 10 minutes, blot them with a clean towel, brushing off as much salt as possible.

3. In a large pan, at least 10" in diameter, add 2 tbsp of oil. Place the onions, peppers, and eggplants throughout the pan and leave them for about 3 minutes to build some color and char. Check on them to make sure they do not burn, and slowly turn them over once a golden color is achieved.

4. Add the fresh quartered tomatoes and minced garlic and stir so that they gain some color but not browned. Pour the diced tomato sauce.

5. Sprinkle in the vinegar, cumin, salt, and pepper.

6. Add 1/2 to 1 cup water to simmer lentils until tender.

7. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are cooked through. You may also place the pan into the oven as this dish is traditiona­lly baked in the oven at 350 F/175C for 15-20 minutes. Pan should simmer until all liquid evaporates and sauce is thick.

8. Enjoy with pita bread, and be sure to sop up all the tangy tomato sauce as you indulge.

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