We started off this year with Patlıcan Reçeli – Aubergine jam and that was a delight! We’ve had them roast over the fire, in salads, in yoghurt, in dips, in sauce - the traditional Hunkar Beğendi mmm that was great. We’ve had them at home, we had them in Lokanta’s and we travelled all the way to the village upon hearing that they were going to make the open fire Kızartma – vegetables fried and topped with tomato sauce and yoghurt! That, of course, was my favourite!
You’d think we’d get sick of aubergines in the summer months – but it just impossible there are so many wonderful recipes in Turkish cuisines I could eat it almost every day. But of course, the whole point in this blog is not just to share firm favourites but discover new dishes too.
Right on cue, last week Hurriyet newspaper posted an aubergine dish on their online Food section ‘Leziz’. Which lead me to discover a wonderful food blog called Oya’s Cusine. It’s bursting with recipes from Turkey and afar and I can’t wait to give some of the deserts a go but as soon as saw this recipe I knew I had to drop all other ideas for dinner.
The dish, called Mualle is a speciality of the Hatay province. If I hear/see a dish is from Hatay and especially the city of Antakya (or Antioch) I jump at the chance of trying it. The area, which has a rich history and beautiful scenery (or so I hear – I’m never visited), also has the most wonderfully delicious cuisine.
Mualle is basically stewed aubergines and lentils with some really interesting background flavours including garlic, mint, sour pomegranate molasses and spices. A welcome change from frying or roasting the recipe calls for macerating the aubergines for an hour in salt and sugar, part cooking the lentils and sautéing the vegetables before assembling them in a large saucepan to stew.
It takes a few pots and pans to get this recipe going and the ingredient list look a little lengthy but once you take that first bite….mmmmm. It’s just so good. The aubergines were so tender, they literally melt in your mouth and the flavours are so well blended and comforting. It’s the perfect bye bye summer welcome autumn dish and I’m confident that it’ll become a regular in this house.
Oya Hanım’s Mualle Recipe
• (Around) 200grams split green lentils.
• 4 aubergines
• 2 long green peppers
• 2 sweet red peppers
• 1 onion
• 4 large tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste (Domates salçası)
• 1 tablespoon red pepper paste (Biber salçası)
• 3 Tablespoons olive oil (55mls)
• 1.5 teaspoons black pepper
• 6 cloves garlic
• 1 large bunch fresh mint
• 3 Tablespoons sour pomegranate molasses (55mls)
• 400mls hot water.
• 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
• Red pepper flakes
Peel the aubergines in a stripped or Zebra pattern and cut into finger sized wedges.
Place the wedges in a large bowl and top with a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar and allow them to rest until they give off a black water. (I waited around an hour).
Rinse and strain.
Boil the lentils for 5-10 minutes and drain of the water.
Chop into small cubes the vegetables and saute them in a little olive oil.
Stir in the salças and fry until combined.
Add in the lentils and dry seasonings and combine well.
In a large saucepan/pot place a tablespoon of olive oil and a layer of aubergines, top with some of the lentil/vegetable mixture and repeat the layers until the ingredients have finished.
Combine the hot water and molasses and add this on top of the stew.
Cover the saucepan and cook until softened.
Before serving stir in the chopped mint.
Oya Hanım tarifeniz için Teşekkür ederim – Ellerinize Sağlık
Recipe translated from Oya’s Cusine Website.