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The Art of Flavour Sunday e-magazine


A Persian Classic. Smoky Eggplant, Zucchini, Garlic and Tomato Stew

Important message: To everyone who loves to cook and loves true natural flavour

Before you start this recipe we strongly recommend you have the very best ingredients. Stale herbs and spices will do little to give the true flavours this recipe promises

We invite you to check our premium herbs and spices for the very best quality. Go to SPICES


  • 2- 3 x Medium eggplants - sliced, see method

  • 6 x Medium zucchini - needs to be thickly sliced to avoid breaking up, see method

  • Olive oil

  • 2 x Medium onions - loosely cut into half moons

  • 6 x Cloves of garlic - very finely diced

  • 2 x Tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 x Teaspoons cumin, ground

  • 1 x Teaspoon turmeric

  • 2 x Teaspoons cinnamon, ground

  • 2 x Teaspoons sumac

  • 1 x Cup home made proper chicken stock or vegetable stock

  • 1 x Tin Italian whole tomatoes - salt free

  • 1 x Teaspoon pomegranate molasses - wonderful with this recipe !

  • 1 x Teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 x Tablespoon of lemon zest

  • A small amount of salt optional but not essential

  • NOTE: To buy the wonderful Pomegranate Molasses and all the natural, best quality Spices Click: SPICES


Wash the eggplants and zucchini then dry and slice into strips, fully length wise. The eggplant about 1cm thick and to avoid breaking up, the zucchini best at least 2cm thick. Pat dry and set aside.

In a heavy based pan add olive oil and progressively fully brown the eggplant and zucchini slices each side to bring out the smoky flavours, then without breaking up, set aside.

(This part may seem to be a little tedious but it is important to bring out the smokiness of the eggplant and zucchini)

Continuing with the same pan, add olive oil and when hot add the onions and garlic (taking care not to burn the garlic) then continue until the onions have nicely browned and caramelised.

Now add the tomato paste to the bottom of the pan and allow to sit for 3 minutes to remove the bitterness then add the important Stock and all the Spices (and small amount of salt if you are using salt) and stir to mix well so the flavours blend with the onions.

Return the eggplant to the pan, gently mix. Note; It is essential that you avoid where possible, breaking up the eggplant and zucchini.

Then add the whole tomatoes and pomegranate molasses and gently stir. Taste to check the flavour balance is to your liking and adjust with a touch of the red wine vinegar or if too sharp, a little brown sugar.

Continue in the pan and allow the sauce to reduce, about 30 minutes making sure the eggplant skins are fully cooked and soft, then add the lemon zest. The dish is now ready to serve.

Important: Our little tasting team had great fun testing this recipe. Initially we found the flavour was slightly out of balance, however, a little of the red wine vinegar and at the end, a touch of lemon juice brought everything into line.

We also found a dollop of true Greek style Yoghurt to the side when serving added another dimension to the dish.

Comments: Traditionally, braised lamb shoulder may be added to this recipe. Cut the lamb into 3cm pieces and fully brown each side using the same pan as the eggplant and zucchini and before you add the onions, then set aside.

Then return the lamb to the pan with the tomatoes and allow to fully braise while the sauce is reducing, about 45 minutes. You may need to add a little more chicken stock during this time.

Wine Pairing An Italian red Chianti Classico would go beautifully with this dish, however, it must be a true Chianti Classico from Tuscany. For a white, a Pinot Grigio or a Fiano would work nicely with the acid from the tomatoes. Check best buys with your wine merchant.

Lamb addition. Diced lamb shoulder would fit nicely into this recipe. Prepare your favourite slow cooked lamb recipe, making sure the lamb is falling apart, then add the meat pieces (keeping your lamb sauce for another recipe) to the Smoky Eggplants and Tomato sauce and bake a further 15 minutes to allow the lamb to settle into the recipe.