* (ms. lalah! ms. mina! what do you want to eat?)
ingredients for 4 servings:
- 1 large eggplant, cut in small cubes with the skin on (or 3-4 italian eggplants)
- 1/4 cup finely cubed onion
- 2 cups brown rice (makes about 4 cups cooked to just tender, still chewy~do not over cook)
- 3 tbs vegetable oil (olive, safflower, or grapeseed)
- 2 medium tomatoes, cubed (or 1/2 cup good quality stewed tomatoes)
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 small tsp ground saffron (or 2-3 strands seeped in a few drops of hot water)
- 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds (only if you like cumin)
- sea salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional for spicy)
1. in a deep skillet heat 2 tbs oil and add the cubed onions and eggplants, allow them to cook on med/low heat while stirring often. as the eggplants soften (about 5 minutes), add the salt and turmeric and continue carefully stirring. allow the mixture to cook (or fry) more until the eggplants are fully cooked (about 10-12 minutes total). add the tomatoes, stir them in, and turn off the heat. sprinkle with saffron and stir the mixture one more time. taste and adjust the salt.
2. pour 1 tbs oil in a small deep nonstick pot, then add a layer of lightly cooked brown rice, topped by a few spoonfuls of the eggplant mixture, and a sprinkle of cumin. repeat this process creating a “dome” of layers ending with a thin layer of rice on the very top. add a touch more saffron, cumin, and rose petals (gol-e-sorkh-if you like them). see picture of the “dome” above. i don’t add water because the tomatoes typically add enough moisture for steaming-if you feel it’s necessary, add a few drops of water over the top.
3. cover the pot firmly with a lid and start steaming on high for just 5 minutes before reducing the heat to med/low and steaming for another 30 minutes. you should have a nice crusty tah-deeg (or crsipy rice) at the bottom of the pot, if not, turn up the heat for just a few minutes (keep an eye on it) prior to serving. sprinkle with red pepper flakes after serving (if you are using it).