Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eggplant Kebab (Patlican Kebabi)

Ingredients:
- 5 eggplants
- 1/2 pound ground lamb or beef
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Olive oil for brushing
Optional: cayenne pepper, chilli pepper, paprika to taste

Directions:
  1. Peel the eggplants striped. Soak in salty water for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine ground lamb with tomato paste, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt (and optional spices). Mix thoroughly.
  3. Use a paper towel to dry the eggplants. Cut them into 1 inch thick pieces.
  4. Take a piece of meat mixture and roll within your palms, press lightly. Pay attention to divide the meat mixture evenly to obtain as many meatballs as the number of eggplant intervals. Set them aside.
  5. Take a skewer. First soak in water for a few minutes, then oil them slightly so that they're not burned and the meat does not stick. Place one eggplant on the skewer, followed by one meatball, and continue this sequence until close to the tip of the skewer. Finally brush the eggplants and meats with olive oil.
  6. Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook about 15 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times, until the eggplant is tender and meat is cooked. 
  7. Alternatively, you can preheat oven to 450 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes or until eggplants are tender.
  8. A third alternative is to use oven broiler; I did this way. Turn on oven broiler and place skewers on a baking sheet or grill rack. Pay attention to putting an aluminum foil or a baking tray underneath the skewers for the drippings. Broil about 8-10 minutes on each side. Oven broiler may burn meat before cooking thoroughly, so you need to always keep an eye on the oven. You may keep the oven door slightly open, so that it is less likely to burn the meat in an instant.
Note: - Fancy big eggplants are not appropriate to use for this recipe. Use thinner ones like Italian or Chinese eggplants. I couldn't find Turkish eggplants, but they are the same as Italian ones.
         - Serve with rice or bulgur pilaf, yogurt, onion salad, hot spicy tomato dip or roasted bell peppers and tomatoes.

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