I was only 2 years old when my family left Iran, during the turmoil of the revolution and a war. The first time I set foot on Iranian soil was not until my early teenage years. It was nothing but magical to experience my birth country with all her mysteries and traditions. As I was raised in the Western world, it was quite a cultural shift to step into an Islamic country. Besides the lack of comprehending the countless differences in day to day life, traditional values and people’s habits, it was also strange to experience the unconditional love and affection of family. As I struggled to understand why these total strangers verbally competed with each other to proof whomever loved me most, there was one woman that I had a natural connection with: my grandmother. This warm spirited woman always seemed to bring people together through her fantastic cooking skills. I started spending more and more time with her in the kitchen. This is where and when I truly fell in love with Persian cuisine.
Today’s dish is a tribute in memory of my grandmother. She will always be an inspiration for me in cooking and sharing dishtales with you all. As it’s difficult to choose what dish to share, I decided to share my all time favorite with you today: Mirza Ghasemi, a vegetarian eggplant dish that is known to be a (Northern Iranian) appetizer. Based on the traditional recipe and my grandmother’s choice in amounts of ingredients I created this easy recipe for you all. I hope you’ll enjoy cooking this infamous Mirza Ghasemi…oh and let me know how it was by commenting below! 🙂
PS. Serve with white rice/bread and you’ll have a foodtabulous vegetarian main course!
- Serving 4
- 4 eggplants (also called: aubergines)
- 2 onions
- 4 tomatoes
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp. tomato puree
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1½ tsp turmeric
- Chives (for garnish)
- Cook eggplants in oven on 180C/350F for about 20 min; after 20 min turn on the grill and cook for another 5/10 min (turn regularly and let them slightly burn for that infamous smoky flavor)
- Peel eggplants, chop the flesh into small cubes and set aside in a bowl (TIP: for easy peeling of the skin you can dip the hot eggplants in a bowl of cold water)
- Fry the finely chopped onions and garlic (until brown); add tomatoes and tomato puree (fry for about 5 minutes)
- Add the eggplants, spices & ground saffron and keep stirring (fry for another 5/10 minutes)
- Make a hole in the middle of the eggplant mixture and pour the beaten eggs into the holes
- Let the eggs cook for about 2 minutes and then start stirring the dish thoroughly
- Ready to serve! This dish is best served warm, with flatbread or rice, as lunch or dinner, or you can even just scoop it with crisps as a mouthwatering dip!
Oh and FYI:
As I have an almost romantic relationship with Persian Saffron, I always (invest to) buy a bunch of it and like to use it in any dish really. However, you don't necessarily need to add Saffron to this dish, as the flavors come from fresh produce, salt, pepper & turmeric.
Are you interested to read other Persian Dishtales and traditional Persian Cuisine recipes? Press here for more!