Today through this dish we are travelling to the country of Iran (Persia)
Since our daughter Anastasia introduced us to Aras we have
'tasted so much of this country' through his memories and
his cooking. His Mother Azam taught him well and
my daughter Anastasia is a lucky woman to have him cook
the dishes of his country and through them our family
benefits when they visit and cook us some of the Persian dishes.
In my research I have read that eggplant (aubergine) is "the potato" of Iran.
I love eggplant as it is such a 'meaty' vegetable
and really does take on what ever flavor you choose to give it!
It is such a beautiful vegetable, deep purple shiny skin.
Whether it be the Asian variety, the little mini eggplant - it is so versatile.
I first tasted this wonderful dish while visiting our daughter Anastasia and son-in-law Aras
in Victoria two years ago. When I returned home I could not get this wonderful dip
and it's delicious flavors out of my head. So I decided to do some research and re-create the version we purchased from the Persian shop called: Mediterranean Middle Eastern Food ( Blair Mart) at 924 Pandora Street.
The owner is such a friendly, welcoming man and always encourages you to try a few of his dishes from the deli portion of the little store. I highly recommend you stop and just wander through his shop.
Here is my version of this flavorful dish
Mirza Ghasemi ( Persian Eggplant Dip) with Sangak (nan)
a Persian bread for dipping.
The ingredients you will need:
The eggplant has been roasted and the purple flesh
has become crispy and smokey.
The flesh is peeled from the eggplant. I use a
spoon and scoop the flesh out.
Chop the eggplant pulp (do not get rid of the juices left behind)
add them to the pan.
The fresh tomato is blanched and skin is removed.
Onions, garlic and tomato are chopped ready for the pan.
Olive oil is hot and waiting for the onions and garlic.
The onion and garlic are sauteed until golden.
The chopped eggplant is added and sauteed a few more minutes.
The chopped tomato, turmeric and cinnamon are added.
Stir in the tomato paste and the water and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Continue to simmer until thickened.
Mirza Ghasemi, a smokey, full bodied dish eaten as
an appetizer, snack or as a meal when egg is added to it.
Mirza Ghasemi ( Persian eggplant dip) Recipe
Makes 4 generous servings as a meal
or approximately 2 cups dip
1 large eggplant (not the long skinny one)
1 large tomato, skin removed and diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced finely
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large egg, beaten
Bake the eggplant in the oven on broil until the skin is black and charred and the
flesh is tender.
If you have a gas stove you can roast it over the flame or on a BBQ
When the skin of the eggplant is charred very well and bursts it means it is done.
Put in a bowl and cover with foil or plastic and let steam for a few minutes while you get
the rest of the ingredients ready.
Peel the eggplant and chop.
Blanche the tomato and peel the skin, then chop
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute until golden.
Add the chopped eggplant and saute another 3-4 minutes.
To this add the chopped tomato and the spices and tomato paste.
Simmer until thickens - this will take about 4-5 minutes.
To eat this as a meal: Slide the eggplant mixture to the side of the pan and break the egg into
the pan, cook until the egg is partially cooked then mix with the eggplant and cook another 1-2 minutes.
We like to eat this with either pita bread, or the traditional 'Sangak' a Persian flat bread that is stone baked
There is a wonderful Persian Bakery in North Vancouver, B C. where you can purchase
Sangak and other delicious Persian breads, fresh - right out of their ovens.
'Children of the Light are born to help us see the way.' ~ Rumi♥