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Photography By : Katie Wilson
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Grilled Aubergine With Beef Keema & Pine Nuts

Dishes Created By

Syrian cuisine is more similar to Indian cuisine than you might expect! I’ve taken inspiration from the dish mnazaleh be aswad, made of aubergine, minced lamb and pine nuts, and put my own spin on it. I’ve substituted baharat-spiced minced lamb for spiced Indian beef keema, balancing the dish out with kacumber, similar to the classic fattoush salad found throughout Syria.

  • Gunpowder
  • Serves Four


For the beef mince

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2-3 x 1in sticks of cinnamon
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 800g beef, minced

For the grilled aubergines

  • 2 big aubergines
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed black pepper

For the pine nut kachumber

  • 200g pine nuts
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander, chopped
  • Yoghurt, optional
  • Salt, to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, sauté for half a minute, then add the chopped onions and sauté over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  2. Add the chopped ginger and garlic, then stir well for a couple of minutes and add the turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander powder and sauté for a further five minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomato and garam masala, then stir and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the oil separates from the masala.
  4. Add the mince and cook over a high heat for five minutes, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and leave covered for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and sauté for a further 10 minutes, stirring constantly until almost dry.
  6. Halve, season with pepper and then grill the aubergines for 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Serve the beef mince on top of the grilled aubergine, then top with some yoghurt and a mix of all the chopped ingredients in the pine nut kachumber salad.

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