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| Aubergine with Tomatoes (Msaqa’a) ãÓÞÚÉ
Rihâwi aubergines, baladi tomatoes and olive oil from the grove sum up in one dish the best that the land can offer. A successful musaqa'a is enjoyed down to the last bite for the lucky one who gets to wipe out the last trace of sauce with fresh kmâj or tabûn bread.
2 big rihâwi eggplants, about 800 grams (1 lb. 12 oz.)
3/4 up olive oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 big onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped pimiento
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 up tomato juice
Peel eggplants and cut across into medium-thin slices. Sprinkle them generously with salt and set them aside for half an hour. This procedure is important to reduce the amount of oil absorbed by the eggplants. Pat them dry and fry them over medium heat a few slices at a time in hot oil until they are golden. When they are done, remove them from the an and put them immediately on kitchen paper. It is a good idea to take the time and effort to refresh the paper towels in order to allow further absorption of the oil.
Turn on the oven to 190C/375/gas mark 7.
Meanwhile chop onion into thin slices and set aside. Blanch the tomatoes by soaking them in boiling water for a few minutes to allow for easy paring.
Once they are ready, remove the skin and cut them up in coarse chunks. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onions. Stir and fry until they are tender and translucent; add the tomatoes stirring them into the onions, then add salt, pepper and allspice. Add the tomato juice and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is ready. Put eggplants in an oven roof late and add the tomato mixture; cover with aluminium foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminium foil and bake for another ten minutes making sure it does not get dry. Serve at room temperature