Monday, September 13, 2010

Mnazaleh bi aswad منزلة باسود

Mnazaleh bi aswad is a typical syrian dish. I feel like Syrians use alot of the same ingredients over and over except they change they way they are cooked...but all of the dishes have distinct taste..weird i know. I remember the first time i made this, my mom was out and my tehteh (grandmother) had come over for a surprise visit and it was getting close to dinner time. I remember i called my mom and asked what i should do about dinner and she told me to make this, i thought ya how easy could this be. Well this was a flop, i placed everything together and forgot the most important part...frying the eggplant. Oh well my tehteh told me what was wrong and my ego went back into place (keep in mind people i was like 13 a t the time). So i was not the hero that day but i have made up for that day. This is a really quick easy dish that is great because it can be done ahead of time and then whenever you wan to cook it you just pop it in the oven.

First you need to peel and fry eggplants (i think these were Japanese eggplants but you can use the small ones or the really big ones, whatever you have). When i made this dish i cooked the eggplant in the over, i brushed some oil on each side of the eggplants and then cooked them at 350 for about 45 minutes or until cooked (depends on how thick you cut it). I am not a big fan of eggplant so sometimes if i have koosa (Mexican squash) or cauliflower i will fry it and do half half of either one along with the eggplant. I pile the eggplant on top of each other until i have about an inch of an eggplant layer.
Next slice tomatoes (not too thin because they break down when they are cooked) and cover the eggplant with a layer of tomatoes. Salt the tomatoes.
Cook some ground beef and add salt as well as mixed Arabic spice. (drain excess oil because the eggplants have more than enough)
Cover the tomatoes with the ground beef and i add a little chicken broth into the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with foil and cook at 400 for 30 minutes. (i know the meat got a little dry here because i ran out of foil so i just covered it with a silicone pad..didn't work too well)
Serve with some vermicelli rice.

Written Recipe:
4 medium eggplants peeled and fried
Approx 4 tomatoes (depending on the size of the tomato and the size of the pan)
.5 lbs or 1 cup of ground beef
1/2 teaspoon mixed Arabic spice (or to taste)
1/4 cup of chicken broth

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