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designed by samyazah developed by basat © 2009
Mirza Ghasemi
From Ashkan Sepahvand, Iran/Germany
As part of Virtual Chef - Iran

Ingredients:

• Eggplants, washed, left whole
• Tomatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
• Eggs
• Garlic cloves, left whole
• Garlic cloves, chopped fine
• Onions, sliced into very thin rings
• Dried mint
• Yoghurt (full fat)
• Olive oil
• Salt
• Pepper
• Turmeric

ROASTING THE EGGPLANTS

You can roast your eggplants in various ways. The best is over an open flame. If you have an electrical stovetop, it will also work (but create more of a mess). I would not recommend roasting the eggplant in the oven as you will loose the very important “charred flavor” which the burned skin imparts to the eggplant.

Whether electric or gas, turn all four of your burners onto high heat. Poke your eggplants a bit with a fork to create room for air to escape. Make sure the eggplants are dry, and for fire safety, cut off the woody tops of the eggplants.

Place one to two eggplants (depending on size) on each burner. Let the skin burn. You want to occasionally turn the eggplants around with a fork to make sure that all sides get burned. The eggplants are ready when charred all over, and when the eggplant itself appears a bit “deflated”. It should be soft and tender.

Remove from heat onto a plate, let the water drain from the eggplants as they cool for 10 minutes.

Now, peel off as much of the charred skin as possible. Leave a little bit on the eggplants, for flavor, and try to only remove the skin with as little flesh attached as possible. Discard of burned skins. Now you have the soft eggplant flesh, some burnt bits, and the smoky eggplant water.


MAKING THE TOPPING

In a medium sized pan, add a fair amount of olive oil and place on medium-high heat. Get the oil really hot, but not too crackly or smoky. Add the chopped garlic and the onion rings. Mix around well. Let them rest in the oil, after 5-6 minutes or so, turn them around. You want the onions and garlic to become crisply fried and golden brown.

In a small pan, add oil and place on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add dried mint and fill up the whole pan with the mint. It will soak up the oil. Toss mint until it is toasted, its color will turn almost blackish green. It should not burn – don’t allow for any brown to appear. This shouldn’t take longer than 7 minutes.

Set fried mint, onions, and garlic aside.

MAKING THE MIRZA-GHASEMI

Place a large, heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add in whole cloves of garlic. Sautee, adding salt, pepper, and a few teaspoons of turmeric to add a nice yellow color. Do not let garlic get crispy or brown. Just heat it through. If garlic starts to fry, turn heat down.

Add the eggplant flesh and the smoky eggplant water. Start to mash with a wooden spoon, separating the flesh completely, mixing it thoroughly with the oil and garlic. Eggplant absorbs oil very easily, so if the bottom of the pot gets dry, add more oil.

Add chopped tomatoes. Mix in.

Lower the heat and cover the pot. Allow eggplant mixture to cook through, it will start to bubble. After 20-30 minutes the garlic cloves will be steamed through. Find them and mash them with a wooden spoon by pressing them against the edge of the pot. Mix the mashed garlic cloves back into the eggplant mixture.

Taste to see if salt and pepper are enough.

Once the eggplant and garlic are cooked through, take your eggs and crack them into the eggplant mixture. Mix immediately. The eggs will make the eggplant mixture fluffy and creamy. Do not let them cook through. The whole eggplant-egg mixture should be very creamy, not lumpy. It should be more moist than dry. After 7 minutes it should be ready.


ASSEMBLING MIRZA-GHASEMI

Transfer eggplant mixture to a presentation dish/casserole. Top with the fried mint, onions, and garlic. Drizzle with the mint oil left, or extra olive oil. Serve with yoghurt on the side, for anyone to mix in.

Eat with either flat bread or with rice.