Growing up in Israel is a very culinary-developing country. Living in an immigration state you are constantly exposed to different influences, new ideas and you can always find yourself surprised from finding another cool idea for how to deal with an aubergine.
From those predominant in Israel, one of my favorite is the North-African cuisine. Since Jewish food is usually poverty food, North-African is actually a very rich one. And also very fatty-meaty one. Which makes it harder to crack.
After successfully dealing with Shakshuka and Hrayme, I attend here to another classic – Mafroum. Mafroums are small sandwiches from thin slices of either aubergine or potato, stuffed with meat, coated in batter, fried and then cooked in sauce. For the stuffing I didn’t want to use any kind of soy-based meat substitute, so I came up with the idea to fill it up with well spiced and mashed chickpeas. Just like in the classic Sambusak.
Also, since North-African sauces are fatty enough as it is, I decided to make them one with the batter in the oven rather than in a deep frying pot. Healthier, isn’t it? The sauce is completely classic: tomato, garlic, different kinds of chili and oil. The result? unresistable.
2 medium potatoes
2 small-medium aubergines
3 spoons olive oil
1 cup of chickpea flour mixed with 1 cup of water and mixed well until smooth
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 leek (or 1 large onion)
1/2 cup grated celery root
salt, pepper, ras el hanout spice mix
4-5 red ripe tomatoes (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
1/4 cup olive oil
10 garlic cloves
red and green chilies, fresh
dried whole chilies, soaked in hot water and blended to a paste (or: harissa)
Start with peeling the aubergines, cut them to half and then to thin slices, lengthwise. Rub in salt and olive oil and broil for 10-15 minutes in 230 degrees. Slice the potatoes thinly as well. And start making the stuffing and sauce.
Heat the oil, chop the leek or onion and saute until transparent. Add the grated celery root and mix, saute until a bit golden. Add all the spices besides the salt. Add the chickpeas and mash them with a fork while mixing. Once you have a relatively smooth puree, add salt and take off the flame.
In another pot, add the oil, garlic and chilies and cook for 5 minutes over a low flame. Once you start to hear simmer and the room smell like garlic, add the tomatoes and salt, increase to a high flame and let them become sauce. Once they are soft, mash them to a paste with a wooden spoon. Add cumin, if needed also a bit of water, and let simmer for 10 minutes over a low flame.
Start making the Mafroum: Take two pieces of either aubergine or potato, lay 1 cm of stuffing between them, and dip in the chickpea flour batter. Place over a baking pan covered in baking paper. Once they are all done, send into an oven with maximum heat for around 8-10 minutes, until the batter is solid and you can smoothly remove them from the baking paper.
Place in a glass oven plate, cover with the sauce, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the sauce is absorved in the Mafroum. Then they are ready. If you wait and let them cool a bit they will become more stable. Let’s see you wait.
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