1 kg tiny long black stuffing aubergine (cored)
250 gm cooked minced beef
1.5 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp crushed garlic
3 pita bread loaves (separated, squared)
1 cup tomato juice
1 tbsp tomato paste
800 gm plain yoghurt
2 tsp corn starch
100 gm pine nuts (roasted)
150 gm blanched, halved almonds (roasted)
2 heaped tbsp parsley leaves (chopped), divided
Juice of one lemon
30 gm butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Sunflower or corn oil for deep frying bread
Salt + pepper + 7 spices + grated nutmeg
Deep fry bread squares in oil. Remove on kitchen paper towels and leave aside. Heat a medium sized cooking pan on high. Add butter and oil. Lower heat to medium. Stir in onion.
When translucent add all seasoning. Stir until fragrant. Add tomato juice and paste. Stir to combine with onion. Bring to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer over low heat. Add hot water if needed.
Meanwhile, wash cored aubergine; inside-out under running tap water. Place onto a colander aside. When red sauce is thickened and reduced, stir in lemon juice and remove away from heat.
Add some sauce, while still hot, over cooked minced beef. Stir in enough just to moisten meat; (approximately 2-3 tablespoonfuls). Add in the roasted pine nuts and half of the parsley quantity; to combine with minced meat. Stuff aubergines with an amount of the mixture.
When all aubergine amount is stuffed, layer them over remaining sauce left in cooking pan. Cover and allow to cook over medium heat. Remove pan away from heat when cooked; approximately 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir corn starch into a fifty millilitre amount of tap water. Stir it into yoghurt. Pour mixture into a medium sized saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat, until mixture thickens and bubbles.
Remove away from heat and stir in garlic. Taste yoghurt for salt.
Layer aubergine in a wide deep serving dish. Pour tomato sauce over. Scatter fried bread squares upon the sauce.
Pour yoghurt mixture over bread.
Sprinkle remaining parsley over and top with roasted almonds.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 8 December, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly