Yalanji Al-Bathenjan

July 23rd, 2010

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Yalanji Al-Bathenjan is my second stuffed eggplants recipe, the differences between mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Yalanji Al-Bathenjan:

Mehshi Al-Bathenjan: stuffed with a mixture of rice and meat, served as main course.

Yalanji Al-Bathenjan: stuffed with a mixture of rice and vegetables, served as appetizer or a snack.

Let’s make Yalanji Al-Bathenjan:

Before talking about the method of cooking Yalanji Al-Bathenjan, I’ll tell you some information about three things.

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Squash Corer

1. Squash Corer

This utensil is called “Syrian Munara” or “Squash corer”, we use it for Mehshi.

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

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

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

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

This lid is needed for the technique of cooking “Yalanji”, 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.

I used this pot lid with the tablespoons in my old posts, click here on these recipes (Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa), (Sheikh Al-Mehshi), (Yabraq), (Yalanji) and you will know how to use the pot lid with the tablespoons, but in this recipe I’m using other tool.

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Round Cooling Rack

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

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

3. Round Cooling Rack:

This is the other tool, you can use round cooling rack instead of the flat lid with the tablespoons, this works similar to the flat lid and the tablespoons, it provides a protection for the stuffed vegetables similar to the flat lid and tablespoons, but make sure the cooling rack is completely from stainless steel and with feet, and should be approximately 3/4″ elevated.

To know how to use the flat lid with the tablespoons, visit these recipe: (Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa), (Sheikh Al-Mehshi), (Yabraq), (Yalanji).

And to know how to use round cooling rack, read today’s post.

You can decide either to use “pot lid and tablespoons” or “round cooking rack”, these tools are used as a technique in cooking stuffed vegetables in Syria.

Let’s make Yalanji Al-Bathenjan:

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

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1. You can see in the picture long and thin eggplants, choose long eggplants that each approximately 3.5 – 4.5 inches (8.9 – 11.4 cm) long, then rinse eggplants with water and drain.

2. Remove the hat of the eggplants, and cut off the stem of the eggplants as you see in the picture.

3, 4. Cut a small piece from the top of the eggplants to have a diameter of the top part of the eggplant equal to 3/4 – 1 inch (1.9 – 2.5 cm).

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Hollow eggplants from one end with the squash corer leaving about 1/16 inch (0.2 cm) thick shell all around , and be careful to leave one end of eggplant intact, if you don’t have squash corer try to use apple corer.

12. Set aside.

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Filling

13. Bring red tomatoes.

14, 15, 16. Peel tomatoes completely, do not use the method of boiling tomatoes then peel them, it is very easy to bring a knife and peel tomatoes without boiling them.

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17, 18. Cut peeled tomatoes into half.

19, 20. Remove seeds.

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21, 22, 23, 24. Cut tomatoes into medium cubes.

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25. Set chopped tomatoes aside.

26. Finely chop onion, and set aside.

27. Finely chop parsley leaves, and set aside.

28. Chop walnuts (medium chopped), and set aside.

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29. This is Egyptian rice.

30. Rinse rice with cold water in several changes.

31. Bring water to boil.

32. Soak rice in boiled water for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water in several changes.

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33. Transfer rice to a bowl.

34. Add chopped onion to the rice.

35. Add chopped parsley leaves.

36. Add chopped walnuts.

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37. Add chopped tomatoes.

38. Add olive oil, Turkish coffee powder, lemon salt (citric acid), salt and black pepper.

39. Mix until combine.

40. Drain the filling in a strainer over a bowl, but make sure to reserve the water which you get in the bowl because you will need it later.

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For Soaking Eggplants

41. In a bowl, add water, crushed garlic, dried mint and salt.

42. Soak eggplants in this water for 10 minutes.

43, 44. After 10 minutes, shake eggplants and get rid of excess water from the inside of the eggplant.

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45, 46, 47. Stuff eggplants with the filling fully to brim.

48, 49, 50. After that, press the eggplant slightly using your thumb and index and run your fingers from bottom up to top to remove excess rice, but make sure that the eggplants are still filled to the brim.

51. Return excess filling to the bowl of the filling.

52. Set aside.

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Tomato Sauce

53. To prepare tomato sauce, bring a pot and put 500 ml of the water that you saved in step 40, and add 2000 ml extra water, then add tomato paste. Heat the tomato sauce, don’t boil.

54. Meanwhile, prepare a large deep pot, and put the round cooling rack on the bottom of the pot. The round cooling rack works as a protection for the stuffed eggplants; to prevent the direct contact between the stuffed eggplants and the heat.

55. Arrange the eggplants, in the same way as you see in the picture.

56. Put a plate over the stuffed eggplants.

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57. Add a weight  over the plate, this is a piece of marble (actually there is a special tool to be used for mehshi, but mine is broken).

58. Add the tomato sauce.

59. Turn on heat, and keep on high heat until it starts to boil.

60. Once the sauce is boiling vigorously, remove the weight but keep the plate.

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61. Lower the heat, and taste if you need salt so you can add salt, cover the pot and cook over very low heat for one hour.

62. After one hour, time to serve, I use “pot strainer” to help me to pour out the sauce through the strainer, discard the sauce.

63, 64. Transfer stuffed eggplants into to a plate. Transfer eggplants one by one, and keep with you a bowl of cold water. Dip your hand in cold water then hold eggplants to transfer to the plate. Cold water helps you to handle it hot eggplants.

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65. Serve Yalanji Al-Bathenjan cold.

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

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

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Yalanji Al-Bathenjan

From: Family Recipe / Servings: 4 – 5 People
PDF Text Only / Print With Images

16 long and thin eggplants,
each approximately 3.5 – 4.5 inches
(9 – 12 cm) long

Filling

1100 g red tomatoes, peeled and
seeds removed then cut into
medium cubes

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

2 cups finely chopped flat parsley
leaves

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, (medium chopped)

250 g Egyptian short grain rice

Boiling water, for soaking rice

150 ml olive oil

1/2 tsp Turkish coffee powder (with cardamom, read notes and tips)

3/4 tsp lemon salt (citric acid)

2 tsp salt

Dash of black pepper

For Soaking Eggplants

Water

Crushed garlic

Dried mint

Salt

Tomato Sauce

500 ml water (explained in
directions about this water)

2000 ml water, extra

1/2 cup tomato paste

Salt, if needed

You can see in the picture long and thin eggplants choose long eggplants that each approximately 3.5 – 4.5 inches (9 – 12 cm) long, then rinse eggplants with water and drain.

Remove the hat of the eggplants, and cut off the stem of the eggplants as you see in the picture.

Cut a small piece from the top of the eggplants to have a diameter of the top part of the eggplant equal to 3/4 – 1 inch (2 – 2.5 cm).

Hollow eggplants from one end with the squash corer leaving about 1/16 inch (0.2 cm) thick shell all around , and be careful to leave one end of eggplant intact, if you don’t have squash corer try to use apple corer.

Set aside.

Filling

Bring red tomatoes.

Peel tomatoes completely, do not use the method of boiling tomatoes then peel them, it is very easy to bring a knife and peel tomatoes without boiling them.

Cut peeled tomatoes into half.

Remove seeds.

Cut tomatoes into medium cubes.

Set chopped tomatoes aside.

Finely chop onion, and set aside.

Finely chop parsley leaves, and set aside.

Chop walnuts (medium chopped), and set aside.

This is Egyptian rice.

Rinse rice with cold water in several changes.

Bring water to boil.

Soak rice in boiled water for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water in several changes.

Transfer rice to a bowl.

Add chopped onion to the rice.

Add chopped parsley leaves.

Add chopped walnuts.

Add chopped tomatoes.

Add olive oil, Turkish coffee powder, lemon salt (citric acid), salt and black pepper.

Mix until combine.

Drain the filling in a strainer over a bowl, but make sure to reserve the water which you get in the bowl because you will need it later.

For Soaking Eggplants

In a bowl, add water, crushed garlic, dried mint and salt.

Soak eggplants in this water for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, shake eggplants and get rid of excess water from the inside of the eggplant.

Stuff eggplants with the filling fully to brim.

After that, press the eggplant slightly using your thumb and index and run your fingers from bottom up to top to remove excess rice, but make sure that the eggplants are still filled to the brim.

Return excess filling to the bowl of the filling.

Set aside.

Tomato Sauce

To prepare tomato sauce, bring a pot and put 500 ml of the water that you saved in step 40, and add 2000 ml extra water, then add tomato paste. Heat the tomato sauce, don’t boil.

Meanwhile, prepare a large deep pot, and put the round cooling rack on the bottom of the pot. The round cooling rack works as a protection for the stuffed eggplants; to prevent the direct contact between the stuffed eggplants and the heat.

Arrange the eggplants, in the same way as you see in the picture.

Put a plate over the stuffed eggplants.

Add a weight over the plate, this is a piece of marble (actually there is a special tool to be used for mehshi, but mine is broken).

Add the tomato sauce.

Turn on heat, and keep on high heat until it starts to boil.

Once the sauce is boiling vigorously, remove the weight but keep the plate.

Lower the heat, and taste if you need salt so you can add salt, cover the pot and cook over very low heat for one hour.

After one hour, time to serve, I use “pot strainer” to help me to pour out the sauce through the strainer, discard the sauce.

Transfer stuffed eggplants into to a plate. Transfer eggplants one by one, and keep with you a bowl of cold water. Dip your hand in cold water then hold eggplants to transfer to the plate. Cold water helps you to handle it hot eggplants.

Serve Yalanji Al-Bathenjan cold.

Notes and Tips

Some people don’t soak the eggplants in the mixture of (water, crushed garlic, dried mint, and salt), but soaking them gives a unique flavor.

Turkish coffee powder is available in market either plain (without cardamom) or blended with cardamom. For Yalanji, Turkish coffee powder blended with cardamom is used. Turkish coffee powder is the secret ingredient for authentic Yalanji , so do not skip using it.

In Syria, we don’t add cinnamon, cloves, all spice or any spice to any kind of dish except in few cases and that’s when the recipe specifies the spices such as in Ozee, so please don’t add any spices if my recipe didn’t tell you to add, otherwise you will not get the traditional taste. Yalanji Al-Bathenjan doesn’t need any spices, and that’s very clear in the recipe.

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3 Responses to “Yalanji Al-Bathenjan”

  1. Kathleen says:

    I just found your blog recently and totally love it. I wrote about in a recent post. Heres a link if you want to check it out!

    http://gonnawantseconds.blogspot.com/2010/07/summer-time.html

    Happy blogging ;)
    Kathleen

  2. Dimah says:

    Kathleen: Many thanks for stopping by and for your kind words!

  3. Alisa says:

    I love cooking with eggplants and this sounds like a wonderful recipe. I cant wait to try this soon. Thanks for sharing this.

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