Makdous Al-Bathenjan

April 9th, 2010

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This post is related to : Typical Syrian Breakfast

Makdous Al-Bathenjan is prepared from baby eggplants stuffed with a mixture of  chopped walnuts, ground red pepper, salt and olive oil, the origin of makdous is Syria, and it has become popular in most Arab countries. Makdous is eaten for breakfast, or snack.

To have perfect makdous, you should choose the right type of eggplants and follow all the steps when preparing makdous.

I’ve purchased makdous form the store to compare it with homemade makdous, store bought makdous has a weird taste, it tastes like  pickles and not delicious. I love our homemade makdous because it is a real traditional Syrian Makdous.

This post is about the exact traditional way of preparing makdous, and this is how my grandmother and my mother make it.

Let’s make Makdous Al-Bathenjan:

Before talking about the method of making makdous, I’ll tell you some information about one thing:

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Pot Cover 1

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Pot Cover 2

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Pot Cover 3

Stainless Steel Pot Lid (I will give it the name “Flat Lid”)

This lid is needed for the technique of boiling the “eggplants”, anything looks like this lid works fine, just try to find something similar to it but should be stainless steel. I have two sizes a big one and small one as you can see in the picture, I will not use both of them, you will know more in the rest of the post.

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Makdous Al-Bathenjan 1

1, 2, 3, 4. These are baby eggplants, and this is the type of eggplants used for making makdous (try to find the same kind in the picture), approximately 1 1/2 – 2 inches long (3.8 – 5.1 cm).

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Makdous Al-Bathenjan 2

5, 6. Remove the hat of the eggplants.

7, 8. Cut off the stem of the eggplants as you see in the picture.

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Makdous Al-Bathenjan 3

9, 10, 11. Arrange the eggplants in a deep pot, the same way in the picture.

12. Cover with water.

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13. This is the flat lid.

14. Put the flat lid over the eggplants.

15. Put a heavy thing over the flat lid, this is a piece of marble.

16. Water is above the top level of the eggplants.

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17, 18. Turn on heat, once water starts to boil vigorously, lower heat, and gentle boil on low heat. The total time of the whole process is about 60 minutes.

19, 20. This is after boiling.

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21, 22. Drain the eggplants.

23. Cover with water.

24. Keep in this water for 10 minutes.

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25, 26. Drain the eggplants, then place them on a strainer to drain.

27. Bring another strainer.

28. Line the stainer with a muslin, and set aside.

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29. This is coarse sea salt.

30. Create a small vertical opening in the middle of the eggplant.

31. You can see the opening.

32. Stuff eggplants with about 1/2 tsp of coarse salt in each eggplant.

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32. Close the opening.

33, 34. Arrange the stuffed eggplants on the cloth, if you have a big quantity of eggplants, so arrange the first layer of eggplants on the cloth, then put another cloth then put another layer of eggplants, but the maximum number of layers is 3 .

35. Cover the eggplants with the cloth.

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37. The layers from bottom to top: A large bowl (the blue), the strainer with cloth and the stuffed eggplants, a tray, then a weight on top which is 5 gallon water bottle . You need to put the weight and this is the secret for perfect makdous, the eggplants will need to drain out their water, because if the eggplants still have water, makdous will be not tasty.

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38. Keep for 2 days in a cool place, and make sure that the eggplants drained out all of their water.

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39. To prepare the filling, coarsely chop walnuts.

40. Add to the walnuts coarse ground red pepper which is not hot , (this red pepper powder is prepared at home in summer by removing the seeds then drying the peppers and making them as a powder), you can use any type of ground red pepper but should be coarse powder and not hot.

41. Add table salt.

42. Add olive oil.

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43. Mix all the ingredients, some people add crushed garlic to the filling.

44. Bring the eggplants.

43. This is the same opening you made in the steps 30, 31.

44. Stuff the eggplants with the walnut mixture.

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47, 48. Close the opening.

49. Arrange in the jar.

50. This close picture to show you how you should arrange makdous in jar, should be in the same way in the picture.

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51, 52. This is how they are arranged.

53, 54. Cover with olive oil, and you can add crushed garlic to the oil in the jar.

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55. Close the jar, and keep makdous at room temperature for 1 week, during the week you have to check daily if makdous needs olive oil or not, so add olive oil to keep the eggplants covered.

56, 57. After one week you can serve makdous and eat it, and you have to store  it in refrigerator, and check the first two days if makdous needs olive oil, so add olive oil to keep the eggplants covered, then check every once in a while to see if it needs olive oil or not, because if makdous is not covered with olive oil, mold will grow.

58. The olive oil may solidify in the refrigerator so allow to return to room temperature before serving.

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Makdous Al-Bathenjan

From: Family Recipe / Servings:
PDF Text Only / Print With Images

5 kg Baby eggplants,
approximately 1 1/2 – 2 inches
(3.8 – 5.1 cm) long

Water, to boil and cover eggplants

Coarse sea salt

Filling

500 g coarsely chopped walnuts

250 g coarsely ground red pepper,
should not be hot (read my notes
in the directions)

Table salt, adjust to taste

100 ml olive oil, for the filling

Olive oil, to cover the stuffed
eggplants

Crushed garlic – optional

These are baby eggplants, and this is the type of eggplants used for making makdous (try to find the same kind in the picture), approximately 1 1/2 – 2 inches long (3.8 – 5.1 cm).

Remove the hat of the eggplants.

Cut off the stem of the eggplants as you see in the picture.

Arrange the eggplants in a deep pot, the same way in the picture.

Cover with water.

This is the flat lid.

Put the flat lid over the eggplants.

Put a heavy thing over the flat lid, this is a piece of marble.

Water is above the top level of the eggplants.

Turn on heat, once water starts to boil vigorously, lower heat, and gentle boil on low heat. The total time of the whole process is about 60 minutes.

This is after boiling.

Drain the eggplants.

Cover with water.

Keep in this water for 10 minutes.

Drain the eggplants, then place them on a strainer to drain.

Bring another strainer.

Line the stainer with a muslin, and set aside.

This is coarse sea salt.

Create a small vertical opening in the middle of the eggplant.

You can see the opening.

Stuff eggplants with about 1/2 tsp of coarse salt in each eggplant.

Close the opening.

Arrange the stuffed eggplants on the cloth, if you have a big quantity of eggplants, so arrange the first layer of eggplants on the cloth, then put another cloth then put another layer of eggplants, but the maximum number of layers is 3 .

Cover the eggplants with the cloth.

The layers from bottom to top: A large bowl (the blue), the strainer with cloth and the stuffed eggplants, a tray, then a weight on top which is 5 gallon water bottle . You need to put the weight and this is the secret for perfect makdous, the eggplants will need to drain out their water, because if the eggplants still have water, makdous will be not tasty.

Keep for 2 days in a cool place, and make sure that the eggplants drained out all of their water.

To prepare the filling, coarsely chop walnuts.

Add to the walnuts coarse ground red pepper which is not hot , (this red pepper powder is prepared at home in summer by removing the seeds then drying the peppers and making them as a powder), you can use any type of ground red pepper but should be coarse powder and not hot.

Add table salt.

Add olive oil.

Mix all the ingredients, some people add crushed garlic to the filling.

Bring the eggplants.

This is the same opening you made in the steps 30, 31.

Stuff the eggplants with the walnut mixture.

Close the opening.

Arrange in the jar.

This close picture to show you how you should arrange makdous in jar, should be in the same way in the picture.

This is how they are arranged.

Cover with olive oil, and you can add crushed garlic to the oil in the jar.

Close the jar, and keep makdous at room temperature for 1 week, during the week you have to check daily if makdous needs olive oil or not, so add olive oil to keep the eggplants covered.

After one week you can serve makdous and eat it, and you have to store it in refrigerator, and check the first two days if makdous needs olive oil, so add olive oil to keep the eggplants covered, then check every once in a while to see if it needs olive oil or not, because if makdous is not covered with olive oil, mold will grow.

The olive oil may solidify in the refrigerator so allow to return to room temperature before serving.

Notes and Tips

The quantity of the filling may differ, it depends on how much you are going to stuff in each eggplant, so you may need less amount of the filling or more, or you my measurements will be enough for you.

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Makdous Wrap Sandwich

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Makdous Al-Bathenjan  95

1. Bring Arabic flat bread, I used small size bread.

2. Add makdous to the bread.

3. Cut using a knife just to make it like pieces.

4. Roll up, and serve with hot cup of tea.

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Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Makdous Al-Bathenjan 99

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Makdous Al-Bathenjan 99a

Makdous Wrap Sandwich

From: / Servings: 1 Person
PDF Text Only / Print With Images

Arabic flat bread

Makdous

Bring Arabic flat bread, I used small size bread.

Add makdous to the bread.

Cut using a knife just to make it like pieces.

Roll up, and serve with hot cup of tea.

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27 Responses to “Makdous Al-Bathenjan”

  1. Arunah says:

    I don’t believe in boiling eggplants ! Do you think they could be baked instead ?

    Your blog is great and very enjoyable, ( very detailed and precise recipes ) but on the whole, I think you tend to overcook vegetables… Could that be that your recipes are very traditional and ignore modern stoves and ovens ?
    Claudia Roden – an expert on Oriental food – seems to have shorter cooking times…

  2. Dimah says:

    Arunah: Thank you for stopping by and for your kind comment!
    First, eggplants should be done the same way in the post, it is the traditional way which is followed in all of Syria “not only by me”, and this method didn’t change and can’t be replaced with another methods.
    Second, I’m not writing the traditional way because I’m the only one who is following it. My great grandmother, my grandmother, my mom, me, and everyone in Syria has learned to cook using the traditional methods and keep applying them, the new generations are learning the traditional methods, and that’s because Syrian food and our cooking methods and techniques didn’t change with all the modern things in this world, and we are very proud of that. By the way, I cook using my “modern gas stove” which contains an oven underneath it.
    Third, Syrians don’t learn cooking from cookbooks or chefs with all my respect to them, we learn from our (mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers), they are our teachers.

    Thanks again :)

  3. Sarah says:

    Dimah, thank you for sharing your lovely recipes with us. I am an Arab and these are the traditional cooking times which are still adhered to today. Perhaps Claudia Roden is translating her recipes for a Western audience? Anyway, as Dimah said, most of us learn recipes from our mothers and grandmothers not from books (apart from foreign recipes).

  4. Y says:

    What an interesting recipe! I love cooking eggplant. That stuffing looks especially good.

  5. yusuf says:

    them … looks very delicious, but the material can be hard on in my city

  6. Dimah says:

    Sarah: Many thanks for your kind comment! I’m glad you stopped by :)

    Y: Thanks for the lovely comment!

    Yusuf: Thanks for coming by! I’m sorry because you can’t find the ingredients in your city :(

  7. Rosa says:

    A very interesting speciality! I bet those stuffed eggplants taste heavenly, especially in a sandwich wrap!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  8. Hannah says:

    Sounds delicious! I’m always hesitant to cook with eggplants, because I’ve been frequently disappointed with the results. This recipe is inspiring me to give it another shot thought!

  9. Dimah

    Once more you are presenting in your professional and precise fashion one of the great classics of Syrian cuisine! Bravo

  10. Brett Sutcliffe says:

    I love eggplants but it is really hard to find lit eggplant in AUS.
    Also, in china we cook it with garlic but here the eggplants we use for cook that dish is even more dear than Meat…

  11. Dimah says:

    Rosa: Many thanks for visiting and for the kind comment!

    Hannah: Thanks! give eggplants a try, you will love them :)

    tasteofbeirut: Thanks Joumana for your lovely comment! you are too sweet :)

    Brett Sutcliffe: Thanks for stopping by! and thank you for the info :)

  12. That looks divine! I bought some similar eggplants-they’re quite difficult to find here but I’m looking forward to using them! :D

  13. Rola says:

    Hello Dimah,

    It was interesting to read about Makdous this morning, I just had some…and I MADE IT, it was the 4th attempt and finally it is close to mom’s. The trick for those of us overseas is to find the right kind of eggplants, once you find them….it is easy (I did not have to drain it that long and it turned out fine)
    Thanks

  14. rina says:

    Hi again Dimah,
    Thanks for your recipes and one more question about makdous – it’s been their 4th day in the jar (room temperature) and i noticed that oil overflows from under the lid. Is it normal or i did somth wrong? Thanks.

    • Dimah says:

      rina: Yes, it is normal, do not worry.
      Use a tablespoon and gently push down the eggplants, this will release the air and will reduce oil overflowing, repeat this from time to time.
      Also keep an eye on eggplants and check if you noticed that eggplants are not covered with olive oil, so add olive oil to keep them covered.

  15. rina says:

    Merci ktir! And happy 6th b-day to your blog!

  16. Zeinab says:

    Salaam..can you please tell me more about the coarse red pepper? What is it called in Arabic? I have all ingredients ready except this one..thanks so much for your amazing recipes and effort!!

    • Dimah says:

      Zeinab: coarsely ground red pepper “not crushed flakes and not powder like paprkia” (we prepare it at home in Syria) بالعربي فليفلة حمراء مطحونة لكن بشكل خشن

      I’ve a note for you about the process of boiling eggplants and the time:
      I suggest for you to check eggplants 10 to 15 minutes after boiling vigorously, press eggplants with your fingers and check them (they should not be hard and should not be punched easily – in this way they are ready to be used). Because they may not need same time written in the recipe (time depends on the quantity and type of eggplants).

  17. Anthony Makhlouf says:

    Hello

    I followed your recipe but the next day I opened the jar it exploded :) oil was everywhere, it looks like the jar was filled with some sort of gas, this kept happening for the next 2 days. The taste was ok but after a week I noticed a slight sour taste ( 7mouda). Any idea what went wrong.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Dimah says:

      Anthony: it’s normal that oil overflows, jar should be closed but not tightly to allow air to come out. Also, use a tablespoon and gently push down the eggplants, this will release the air and will reduce oil overflowing, repeat this from time to time, and keep an eye on eggplants and check if you noticed that eggplants are not covered with olive oil, so add olive oil to keep them covered.
      You should drain out all the water from eggplants (photos 37 – 38), and the sour taste means eggplants still have some water.

  18. Dave says:

    My wife and I tasted makdous for the first time this weekend. They were homemade, and we loved them! Thank you for publishing such a detailed recipe. There is one thing I want to make sure I understand. When you salt the eggplants and then drain them for two days, is most of the salt carried away with the water that drains away? Or do you need to get rid of any extra salt that is left behind?

    Thank you,

    Dave

    • Dimah says:

      Thank you so much for letting me know that you enjoyed Makdous. It is normal if extra salt is left behind, you can wipe extra salt away.
      I will publish a new post for Makdous with extra details and tips.

  19. Sheri says:

    I am trying to find the correct eggplants for makdous for my Syrian friends who have moved here. Do you think these are the right ones?
    http://www.rareseeds.com/tadifi/?F_Keyword=eggplant
    It’s getting late in the year to start seeds and I’m sad I’ve not found them yet b/c they are going to be sad when harvest comes.

      • Hannanne says:

        Just an FYI for folks here, in the U.S.: I bought a variety of eggplant at Lowe’s this year that is perfect! They were around $3.50, for established plants. It is meant to grow in a pot,but I have 4 plants, in a raised bed. There will be hundreds by the end of summer! I harvested about 2kg just from the very first fruits–just enough for my first batch. They get no bigger than around 3″ long, and are bright purple when ripe. BTW, the reason these must be boiled is because you’re blanching, not cooking them. You wouldnt bake cucumbers for pickles!!! The only acceptable pepper in our house is Aleppo pepper.

        • Sheri says:

          That’s awesome, Hannanne! Do you know what the eggplant is called? Was there a tag with the plants? I don’t have a Lowe’s where I am in Canada. The Tardifi have not flowered yet, I don’t know if we will get much fruit before the end of the summer, which is fast approaching.
          My friends have said they need to be purple and white striped, not solid purple. I look very much forward to seeing whether yours will make good makdous! :)

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