I don’t even know how to pronounce the name of this dish! Is is sin-A-yah? Is it sin-EYE-ya? No mattter really!
It is adapted from Balaboosta, by Einat Admony, an Istraeli American of Yeminite and Persian ancestry. She describes it as “Palestinian comfort food at its best.”
I must admit it’s a real “patchke” to make, so I’ve only made it twice, both times for big company meals. A friend who joined us last week made me promise to put it on the blog so here it is.
The recipe calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground lamb. Kosher ground lamb is really hard to find so I just used all ground beef both times.
You can buy baharat, a Middle Eastern spice mixture, at a Middle Eastern grocery, but the first time I made this, I made my own from the recipe Admony provides in her book. That was a patchke in itself! But if you make it using the recipe below the main recipe, you’ll have enough to make this dish several times. Actually, I reduced the quantities in the baharat recipe below by half and it still produced an ample supply.
You can also buy tahini (sesame paste) at a Middle Eastern grocery or specialty store.
1 large eggplant
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup water
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 Tbs. kosher salt (use a little less if you like your food less salty)
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground lamb
2 tsp. baharat (see below)
2 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Combine the spices for the meat mixture in a small bowl (the baharat, paprika, cumin, kosher salt and black pepper).
Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices and sprinkle each slice with kosher salt. Set the slices in a colander, weight them with a plate and let them sit for an hour in the sink or on top of paper towel to drain off some of the moisture. Rinse off the salt and pat the slices dry.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a large baking dish and place the eggplant slices in it, overlapping a little if necessary to cover the whole bottom of the dish. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. of olive oil.
Bake the eggplant for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.
While the eggplant is baking, make the tahini sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth and creamy (it’s not that large an amount, so I used an immersion blender instead, which worked fine.)
Slice the tomatoes thinly and place the slices on top of the eggplant. Set the dish aside.
Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef and lamb, breaking it up into small pieces. Add the baharat, paprika cumin, salt and pepper, and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Drain off any excess liquid and place the meat in the baking dish with the eggplant and tomatoes.
Spread the tahini sauce over the top of the meat.
Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Garnish with pine nuts.
Serves 6 to 8
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
3 Tbs. allspice
3 Tbs. ground coriander
5 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cardamom
4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tbs. dried lemon zest (optional)
4 tsp. dried ginger (optional)
Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight jar.