Mini makloubeh! Not only it’s a lot easier to prepare and serve, it’s also a lot healthier. It’s assembled the same way as ouzi with layers of rice, meat and more eggplant. You can make your own adjustments to it depending on your taste: grilled eggplants instead of fried, with or without meat, quinoa instead of rice… try it out yourself and let me know!
Ingredients (serves 3)
- 500 grams diced beef
- 2 long medium-sized eggplants
- 1 1/2 cup rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups water to boil the beef
- salt and black pepper to taste
garnish: tomato, parsley and pine seeds or any other nut (almond, cashews…)
- Slice the eggplant lengthwise, brush each piece with some oil and grill on the two sides until its golden from each side.
- In a pot, add a tablespoon of oil, and brown the diced meat. Once the meat changes color, add 3 cups of boiling water, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and let simmer with a bay leaf. Once cooked, remove the meat, sprinkle them with black pepper, and save the broth for cooking the rice.
- In another pot, add the rest of the oil, fry the pine seeds. Remove pine seeds once golden and add the rice to the oil. Keep on mixing the rice with the oil for a minute, then add enough meat broth (or water for a more subtle taste or as a vegan option) to cover the rice over 1 cm. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the pot simmers, reduce heat and cook the rice for 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl or cake mold, line the eggplants up so that one end is pointing to the middle of the bowl while the other end hangs out. Layer with rice, meat and more eggplant. Fold the end handing out to cover the filling completely. Flip over.
- Repeat until you are done with the eggplants and filling.
- Add a slice of tomato on top then place in a preheated 180 degrees C or 325 degrees F oven for 20 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with the nuts, serve with yogurt or a green salad.
Note: you can prepare the eggplant pouches up to a day ahead and store in the fridge. Before serving, add the slice of tomato and finish up in the oven.