One of my absolute fave restaurants in Melbourne is the legendary Moroccan Soup Bar in Fitzroy. I first experienced the amazing cuisine of this Melbourne institution about 12 years ago with friends. I went a couple of times, and then not again until recently, as we live on the other side of town. Over the years I’ve regaled Mr.B with reminiscences of the mouth-watering flavours and aromas. I’ve even dreamt of their signature chick-pea bake!
Some months ago I was attending a blogging event at the Fitzroy library to hear Pip Lincolne share her expertise, and Mr.B suggested I introduce him to the delights of this much raved about restaurant afterwards. One taste and he became an avid fan – we bought their inspiring book on the spot, and I’ve been trying out a few recipes at home, with great success I might add.
I’m thinking I might review the book on this blog, but that is a project for another day. In the meantime I’m sharing this recipe for Makloubeh, as I’ve made it a few times now and it goes down well with everyone.
It’s a humble, simple sort of meal, and a delicious way to eat eggplant – even Miss E thinks it’s delicious, and she doesn’t really like eggplant much. This recipe doesn’t state how many people it’s intended for, but seems to be at feast proportions. We ate it the next day too.
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
- 1/2 bunch coriander
- 2 heaped tblsp tomato paste
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups rice
- 2 tblsp pomegranate syrup (you'll have this in the pantry if you've cooked from Ottolenghi)
- 2 eggplants
- 200g toasted slivered almonds, to serve
- 200g plain yoghurt, to serve
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chilli (use less if your kids don't like chilli - I used 1)
- 2 tblsp salt
- 1 tblsp black pepper
- Peel and chop the onions and garlic.
- Roughly chop the parsley and coriander.
- Add the olive oil to a heavy based saucepan and saute the onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, cumin and chilli until soft.
- Add the tomato paste and combine well.
- Add the water and bring to the boil.
- Rinse the rice well to remove the starch and add to the pan with salt and pepper.
- Return to the boil and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking slice the eggplant about 1cm thick slices and salt to draw out the moisture.
- Once the water has started to become absorbed, add pomegranate syrup and gently stir through.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
- Toast slivered almonds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant.
- Wipe the moisture from the eggplant slices with absorbent paper and shallow pan fry until golden. Do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Keep slices warm.
- Serve rice topped with eggplant and toasted almonds.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Enjoy with yogurt and maybe a salad on the side.