To Aleppo With Love – Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun

August 27th, 2016

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z96

Mehshi Al-Burghul is summer recipe in Aleppo. It is eggplants stuffed with bulgur and vegetables, and prepared in two ways, either with meat or without meat. Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zetioun is the one without meat.

Let’s make Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun:

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 1

Cooking Chickpeas

1, 2. Measure dried chickpeas and put in a deep pot.

3, 4. Cover with water, and set aside for 30 minutes.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 2

5, 6, 7. Drain water from chickpeas, then cover with water again.

8. Add pinch of Qelo to chickpeas.

Qelo قلو : is a white powder, in Syria we add it to chickpeas to help in cooking. You can substitute with baking soda (each one teaspoon of Qelo equal to two teaspoons of baking soda), but Qelo is much way better and will not leave a bitter taste. I tried to bring the generic name of Qelo, but couldn’t. Qelo is only used with chickpeas recipes, not used in any other recipes.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 3

9. Cover the pot, and let chickpeas to soak overnight at room temperature. Next day, chickpeas will expand to over double their size.

10. Next day, drain water from chickpeas.

11, 12. Cover with water, turn on heat and keep on high heat until boiling.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 4

13, 14, 15, 16. During boiling, a foam will occur on surface of the water. Skim any foam that rises to the surface.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 5

17, 18, 19, 20. Reduce the heat and keep on low heat till chickpeas are partially cooked. Chickpeas should not cooked to tender, they must stay slightly hard. Set aside.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 6

Soaking Eggplants

21, 22, 23, 24. Choose long eggplants that each approximately 3.5 – 4.5 inches (9 – 12 cm) long.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 7

25, 26, 27, 28. Cut off the stem of the eggplants, and remove the hat.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 8

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 9

29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36. 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).

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 90

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 91

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 92

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 93

37 to 52. Hollow eggplants from one end with the squash /eggplant 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 / eggplant corer try to use apple corer.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 94

53, 54, 55, 56. Rinse eggplants with water, drain and set aside.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 95

57, 58, 59, 60. In mortar, measure 8 garlic cloves, add 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon dried mint, then crush them together.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 96

61, 62, 63, 64. Put the mixture of crushed garlic in a large bowl, and add 1000 ml water to it.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 97

65, 66, 67, 68. Soak eggplants in this water, and set aside.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 98

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99

Filling

69 t0 76. Prepare 1 cup coarse white bulgur wheat, rinse it in several changes of water, and set aside.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99a

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99b

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99c

77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82. Chop white onion into small cubes, and set aside.

83, 84, 85, 86, 87. Chop garlic into slices, and set aside.

88. Bring long red pepper and long green pepper.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99d

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99e

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99f

89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94. Deseed red pepper.

95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100. Chop red pepper into small cubes, and set aside.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99g

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99h

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99i

101,102, 103, 104, 105, 106. Deseed green pepper.

107,108, 109,110, 111, 112. Chop green pepper into small cubes, and set aside.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99j

113, 114, 115, 116. 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.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99k

117, 118. Cut peeled tomatoes in half.

119, 120. Remove seeds.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99l

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99m

121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126. Chop tomatoes into small cubes, and set aside.

127, 128. Finely chop parsley leaves, and set aside.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99n

129, 130. Finely chop mint leaves, and set aside.

131. Put 3/4 cup olive oil in a deep pot.

132. Turn on heat, and add 3/4 cup chopped onion to olive oil.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99o

133. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to onion.

134, 135, 136. Over medium heat, saute onion for 2 minutes until slightly softened.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99p

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99q

137, 138. Add sliced garlic, and saute for 1 minute.

139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144. Add 1/4 cup chopped red pepper, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, and saute for 3 minutes.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99r

145, 146, 147, 148. Add 1 cup bulgur, and cook for 5 minutes.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99s

149. Turn off heat, and transfer the mixture into a large plate.

150. To the mixture, add 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes.

151, 152. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99t

153, 154. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons dibs al-fleifleh al-halabiyeh (red pepper paste).

155, 156. Add 1/8 cup pomegranate molasses.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99u

157, 158. Add 1/2 tablespoon Turkish coffee powder.

159, 160. Add 2 1/4 teaspoons salt.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99v

161, 162. Add 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

163, 164. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99w

165, 166. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves.

167, 168. Add chickpeas.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99x

169. Mix all the ingredients together until combined.

170. Place a strainer over a bowl.

171, 172. Drain the mixture “the filling” in the strainer.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99y

173, 174. Save the liquid, because it will be used later, set aside.

175, 176. Bring the eggplants which are left in soaking water, and shake them to get rid of excess water from the inside of the eggplant.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z1

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z2

177, 178, 179, 180. Stuff eggplants with the filling, keeping the top quarter of the eggplant empty.

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 filling.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z3

Cooking Stuffed Eggplants

189, 190, 191. Prepare a large deep pot, and put a 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.

192. Arrange sliced potatoes over the cooling rack.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z4

193, 194, 195, 196. Arrange the eggplants over the sliced potatoes, in the same way as you see in the picture.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z5

197. Put a plate over the stuffed eggplants.

198. Add a weight over the plate, this is a piece of marble.

199, 200. Put 750 ml warm water in a bowl.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z6

201, 202, 203, 204. Add 1/4 cup tomato paste to water, and mix.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z7

205, 206, 207, 208. Add 1 cup verjuice to the sauce, and mix.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z8

209, 210, 211. In mortar, measure 10 garlic cloves, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon dried mint, then crush them together.

212. Add the mixture of crushed garlic to the sauce.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z9

213, 214. Add 3/4 cup of liquid that was saved in steps 173 – 174, and mix.

215, 216. Pour the sauce over the eggplants in the pot, the sauce level must be more than the top level of the plate.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z90

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z91

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

219. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot, the heat should be very low.

220, 221. After 35 minutes, remove the weight but keep the plate.

222. Keep the pot covered and keep the heat very low, and cook. From this step, the eggplants will take 45 – 50 minutes to become cooked.

223, 224. Take one and taste, and if you feel it is cooked so turn off heat.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z92

225, 226, 227, 228. Drain eggplants from sauce.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z93

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z94

228. Keep the sauce.

229 to 235. Transfer stuffed eggplants and sliced potato 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 hot eggplants.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z95

236. Serve Mehshi Al-Burghul hot or warm or cold. Serve with the sauce, sliced potatoes, and sliced green pepper.

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z97

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z98

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z99

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z99a

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z99b

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z99c

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun 99z99d

Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun

From: Chef Mohammad Orfali / Servings: 5 People
PDF Text Only / Print With Images

Cooking Chickpeas

1/8 cup dried chickpeas

Water, to soak chickpeas

Pinch of qelo

Water, to cook chickpeas

Soaking Eggplants

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

8 garlic cloves

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp dried mint

1000 ml water

Filling

1 cup coarse white bulgur wheat

3/4 cup chopped white onion
(chopped into small cubes)

3 garlic cloves, chopped into slices

1/4 cup chopped long red pepper (chopped into small cubes)

1/4 cup chopped long green pepper (chopped into small cubes)

1 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
(chopped into small cubes)

1/2 cup finely chopped flat parsley leaves

1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp salt, added to chopped onion

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tbsp dibs al-fleifleh al-halabiyeh
(red pepper paste)

1/8 cup pomegranate molasses

1/2 tbsp Turkish coffee powder,
read the notes and tips

2 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Chickpeas which was cooked in first steps, read the directions

Cooking Stuffed Eggplants

2 medium potatoes, sliced into circles

750 ml warm water

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup verjuice

10 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp dried mint

3/4 cup liquid from the filling,
read the directions

To Serve

Green pepper, sliced

Cooking Chickpeas

Measure dried chickpeas.

Cover with water, and set aside for 30 minutes.

Drain water from chickpeas, then cover with water again.

Add pinch of Qelo to chickpeas.

Qelo قلو : is a white powder, in Syria we add it to chickpeas to help in cooking. You can substitute with baking soda (each one teaspoon of Qelo equal to two teaspoons of baking soda), but Qelo is much way better and will not leave a bitter taste. I tried to bring the generic name of Qelo, but couldn’t. Qelo is only used with chickpeas recipes, not used in any other recipes.

Cover the pot, and let chickpeas to soak overnight at room temperature. Next day, chickpeas will expand to over double their size.

Next day, drain water from chickpeas.

Cover with water, turn on heat and keep on high heat until boiling.

During boiling, a foam will occur on surface of the water. Skim any foam that rises to the surface.

Reduce the heat and keep on low heat till chickpeas are partially cooked. Chickpeas should not cooked to tender, they must stay slightly hard. Set aside.

Soaking Eggplants

Choose long eggplants that each approximately 3.5 – 4.5 inches (9 – 12 cm) long.

Cut off the stem of the eggplants, and remove the hat.

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 /eggplant 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 / eggplant corer try to use apple corer.

Rinse eggplants with water, drain and set aside.

In mortar, measure 8 garlic cloves, add 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon dried mint, then crush them together.

Put the mixture of crushed garlic in a large bowl, and add 1000 ml water to it.

Soak eggplants in this water, and set aside.

Filling

Prepare 1 cup coarse white bulgur wheat, rinse it in several changes of water, and set aside.

Chop white onion into small cubes, and set aside.

Chop garlic into slices, and set aside.

Bring long red pepper and long green pepper.

Deseed red pepper.

Chop red pepper into small cubes, and set aside.

Deseed green pepper.

Chop green pepper into small cubes, and set aside.

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 in half.

Remove seeds.

Chop tomatoes into small cubes, and set aside.

Finely chop parsley leaves, and set aside.

Finely chop mint leaves, and set aside.

Put 3/4 cup olive oil in a deep pot.

Turn on heat, and add 3/4 cup chopped onion to olive oil.

Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to onion.

Over medium heat, saute onion for 2 minutes until slightly softened.

Add sliced garlic, and saute for 1 minute.

Add 1/4 cup chopped red pepper, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, and saute for 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup bulgur, and cook for 5 minutes.

Turn off heat, and transfer the mixture into a large plate.

To the mixture, add 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes.

Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons dibs al-fleifleh al-halabiyeh (red pepper paste).

Add 1/8 cup pomegranate molasses.

Add 1/2 tablespoon Turkish coffee powder.

Add 2 1/4 teaspoons salt.

Add 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Add 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves.

Add 1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves.

Add chickpeas.

Mix all the ingredients together until combined.

Place a strainer over a bowl.

Drain the mixture “the filling” in the strainer.

Save the liquid, because it will be used later, set aside.

Bring the eggplants which are left in soaking water, and shake them to get rid of excess water from the inside of the eggplant.

Stuff eggplants with the filling, keeping the top quarter of the eggplant empty.

After that, press the eggplant slightly using your thumb and index and run your fingers from bottom up to top to remove excess filling.

Cooking Stuffed Eggplants

Prepare a large deep pot, and put a 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 sliced potatoes over the cooling rack.

Arrange the eggplants over the sliced potatoes, 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.

Put 750 ml warm water in a bowl.

Add 1/4 cup tomato paste to water, and mix.

Add 1 cup verjuice to the sauce, and mix.

In mortar, measure 10 garlic cloves, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon dried mint, then crush them together.

Add the mixture of crushed garlic to the sauce.

Add 3/4 cup of liquid that was saved in steps 173 – 174, and mix.

Pour the sauce over the eggplants in the pot, the sauce level must be more than the top level of the plate.

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

Once the sauce is boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot, the heat should be very low.

After 35 minutes, remove the weight but keep the plate.

Keep the pot covered and keep the heat very low, and cook. From this step, the eggplants will take 45 – 50 minutes to become cooked.

Take one and taste, and if you feel it is cooked so turn off heat.

Drain eggplants from sauce.

Keep the sauce.

Transfer stuffed eggplants and sliced potato 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 hot eggplants.

Serve Mehshi Al-Burghul hot or warm or cold. Serve with the sauce, sliced potatoes, and sliced green pepper.

Notes and Tips

Qelo قلو : is a white powder, in Syria we add it to chickpeas to help in cooking. You can substitute with baking soda (each one teaspoon of Qelo equal to two teaspoons of baking soda), but Qelo is much way better and will not leave a bitter taste. I tried to bring the generic name of Qelo, but couldn’t). Qelo is only used with chickpeas recipes, not used in any other recipes.

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

Squash / Eggplant Corer is a utensil used to hollow the vegetables, it is called “Syrian Munara”. Click here to see the one I used, and click here to see different squash /Eggplant corers.

Click here for the recipe of Dibs Al-Fleifleh Al-Halabiyeh.

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

Verjuice “Arabic: Husrum” is the pressed juice of unripened grapes, and we usually prepare it at home by juicing the unripened grapes in a juicer or you can use the blender but you have to get very pure juice, then boil the juice for few minutes and pour the boiled juice to airtight bottles then cover the juice with olive oil which helps to protect it, and store in cool dry dark place, you have to store in the refrigerator once you open it. Verjuice is used in cooking or in salad dressing. I used store bought verjuice, click here to see the brand.

Watch this video of “Chef Mohammad Orfali” making “Mehshi Al-Burghul”.

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4 Responses to “To Aleppo With Love – Mehshi Al-Burghul Bi-Zeit Az-Zeitoun”

  1. sarvenaz says:

    Salam,

    Hum, badenjoon !!!

  2. mariam says:

    thank you for documenting and preserving and sharing these exquisite recipes from your country and esp Aleppo. This is also made in Jordan but no coffee..what flavor does the coffee impart…? will it taste of coffee or other flavor notes? any detail would really be helpful

    • Dimah says:

      I can’t describe the flavor, but when I taste Mehshi Al-Burghul or Yalanji “grape leaves stuffed with vegetables” I know if it has Turkish coffee powder or not, it has a unique taste. Do not worry from adding it because it will not give an overpowering coffee flavor.

  3. Nada says:

    Thank you for sharing all these precious recipes with so much attention to details.

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