Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan

Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan

Author:Yasmin Khan [Khan, Yasmin]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781408898307
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: 2018-07-11T23:00:00+00:00

Upside-down rice with aubergines and peppers

Lentil, aubergine and pomegranate stew


I gravitate towards dishes with pomegranate molasses in them, a remnant no doubt from my childhood where I adored the tangy fruit concentrate so much that I’d sneak into my grandmother’s fridge and eat her home-made molasses by the spoonful when no one was looking. Rumman means ‘pomegranate’ in Arabic and, when literally translated, this dish means ‘pomegranatey’, highly apt for a recipe sharpened with generous amounts of tart pomegranate juices and then strewn with their ruby seeds. It is a dish that is believed to have originated from the coastal shores of Jaffa, but is also popular in the Gaza Strip, where it was introduced by the Palestinian communities displaced from the northern shores. Traditionally served with flatbreads and olives, I like to eat it with plain steamed rice, too, perfect for soaking up those tart juices.

Serves 4

1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

175g brown lentils

2 large aubergines (around 550g total weight), peeled and cut into 2cm cubes

80–100ml unsweetened pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon sumac

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil

2 banana shallots, finely chopped

light olive oil

5 garlic cloves, crushed

10g mint leaves, chopped, plus more to serve

10g parsley leaves, chopped, plus more to serve

handful of pomegranate seeds, to serve

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a low heat for a minute or so until their aromas are released. Grind them in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Rinse the lentils in cold water, then place them in a saucepan with the ground spices and 1 litre water. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils begin to soften.

Add the aubergines, 80ml of the pomegranate molasses, the sumac, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the shallots in 2 tablespoons light olive oil until soft and golden, then add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.

When the lentils and aubergines are quite soft, mash the aubergines into the lentils with the back of a wooden spoon. If the stew starts to dry out, add a touch more water.

Finally, add the fried garlic and shallots and the herbs and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasoning, adding the extra pomegranate molasses if you think it needs a bit more astringency.

To serve, scatter with pomegranate seeds and strew with some more herbs.


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