Arabic Main Dishes
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All photos by Nicky Garratt copyright 1999/2000


Tomato Stuffed Eggplants
"It's slim pickings for a vegan in Turkey, but the apricots are as sweet as honey and my favourite White Mulberries grow abundantly. The melons in the central region are delicious and figs are absolutely everywhere. There are a few vegan dishes that reoccur in most Turkish regions but be careful. Often you will be assured there is no meat in a dish, but it is made with meat stock."

  • 3 medium to large eggplants
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/3 bunch of parsley finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 t. of salt

Trim the ends of the eggplant and fry in about 1/4 of the olive oil until they collapse and are browned. Split eggplants open lengthways stopping about an inch from each end. Place the eggplants in a saucepan (do not stack them), with the slits upwards. Fry onions in 1/4 of a cup of olive oil until golden brown. Add minced garlic and fry for a few seconds then add the tomatoes 1/2 t. salt and parsley. Continue to fry for a quarter of an hour until the mixture reduces to a sauce. Stuff the eggplants with the tomato mixture. Carefully pour 3/4 of a cup of water around the eggplants and pour the remaining olive oil over the stuffed eggplants. Cover and Simmer on low heat for about an hour making sure the pan doesn't dry out. Turn off the heat and let the eggplants cool. There should be liquid left in the pan. Serve at room temperature on a platter with juice spooned around them.

Green Beens in Tomato Sauce
"This dish is quite light and seems to be available all over Turkey"

  • 2 pounds of broad "runner" beans Turkeythum.JPG (29094 bytes)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil medium onions chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 t. salt

If you are using the onion, fry it until it's golden brown in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and simmer until they are reduced a little. Trim the ends of the beans and cut into 2 inch segments. Add them to the pot with salt and a cup of water. Cover and simmer on low until the beans are quite soft and the sauce has reduced a bit. (about an 3/4 of an hour). Serve hot or cold.




Fava Beans with Tomatoes

"A version of Fava Beans cooked in other parts of the Arab world"

  • 2 cups of fresh fava beans Syriathum.JPG (20626 bytes)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 large cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1/3 cup of fresh coriander leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Fry onions and garlic in oil until golden brown. Stir in coriander leaves and fava beans and continue to stir for 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat until tomatoes reduce a little, then add remaining ingredients, simmer covered for half an hour. Can be served hot or cold.

Baked Eggplant & Chick-Pea Stew

"Many varieties combining eggplant, tomato and olive oil are common across the Middle East, from the stuffed eggplant of Turkey to this rich Lebanese stew"

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 2 large yellow onions chopped.
  • 1 15 once can of cooked chick-peas
  • 7 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste
  • 2/3 of a cup of virgin olive oil
  • 2 T salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 2 long green chili peppers (mild) cut into 2 inch segments.
  • 3 t of dried mint

Peel eggplants and cut into cubes about 1 1/2 inch square. Place into a bowl and lightly salt, evenly distributing the salt around the cubes. Let stand for half an hour.
Heat a third of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic and onions until golden brown. Add the drained chick peas and stir for a couple of minutes. Turn into a bowl and mix in tomato paste, a cup of water, salt, allspice and cinnamon. Put the remaining oil back into the frying pan and proceed to fry the drained and dried eggplant cubes until they are dark brown, but not burnt. Add chili peppers half way through frying. Keep turning eggplant and chili peppers. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Turn off heat to frying pan and remove eggplant cubes with slotted spoon to reduce oil and place into a deep casserole dish. Pour thoroughly mixed onion/chick pea mixture over eggplant. Top with tomato wedges and drained chili pieces. Sprinkle on mint and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve hot or cold