Maklubit Betinjan (upside-down eggplants)


2 large eggplants
15 mL (1tbsp) salt
375 mL (1 1/2 cups) long grain rice
vegetable oil for deep frying
2 large onions, diced
1 kg (2 pounds) lean ground beef or cut up into tiny pieces
7 mL (1 1/2 tsp) salt
2 mL (1/2 tsp) black pepper
3 mL (3/4 tsp) cinnamon
5 mL (1 tsp) allspice
375 mL (1 1/2 cups) boiling water
50 mL (1/4 cup) pine nuts fried in a bit of oil
sprigs of parsley or cilantro (fresh coriander) for garnish


Peel eggplants, cut into cubes, sprinkle with salt and set aside for at least one hour. Soak the rice in boiling water to cover for one hour or more.

Squeeze eggplant to remove excess water and deep fry in oil until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a heavy casserole pot. Pour out most of the oil, leaving 5-6 tbsp in the pot.

Fry onions until golden, add meat and brown.

Add to eggplant along with the spices and mix together well.

Drain rice and spoon over meat mixture; spread out to cover. Pour boiling water over rice and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to very low and cook until all water is absorbed (about 30 minutes).

Remove lid, invert a large platter over the top of the pot and flip over pot and platter together so the meal settles on the platter. Serve garnished with fried pine nuts. Garnish platter with either parsley or cilantro (fresh coriander).

Some people omit the flipping over stage; when the meal is cooked and ready to serve they just mix it together, garnish it and serve.