Iraqis have nicknamed aubergines (or eggplants) as the monster of the frying pan ( وحش الطاوة).
I don’t know why, but one can make assumptions:
1. It is delicious in every shape, form, regardless of cooking method.
2. The ways in which it may be cooked are almost endless, from the simplest to the most complicated.
3. Due to the embargo against Iraq for over a decade and the escalating poverty, aubergines grown locally were plentiful and affordable, so it was basically eaten on a daily basis.This recipe is a particular favorite and I have been making it for years just as it is.
You however may like to add lemon juice to the sauce or tomato paste to change it up.
20 baby aubergines
500g minced meat
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp alspice
2 Tbsp pinenuts, toasted
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 cubes stock
2 tsp cornflour
Make a slit like a pocket in each aubergine from to to bottom, making sure to not pierce the other side.
Deep-fry the aubergines in hot oil until slightly golden on the outside and soft on the inside.
Stand then in a colander lined with paper towels to drain, set aside.
In a heated pan, saute the minced meat until browned, add the onions and seasonings and spices.
Saute until onion is transparent, remove from heat, allow to cool.
Stir in the pinenuts and the parsley.
When the aubergines and the meat are cool enough to handle, carefully open the slit in the aubergine and generously stuff it with the meat mixture.
It will look like a loaded boat.
Place them snugly side-by-side in an oven-proof dish.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
To make the sauce, dissolve the stock cubes in 600ml water over high heat.
Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold water, then add it to the stock, and boil until thickened.
Pour the sauce over the aubergines to almost cover them.
Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes just to reheat and distribute the flavors.
Serve with rice.