Around the start of each November, my parents’ house smells a little different. The intense smell of hot peppers, garlic, and olive oil fills the place; it’s Makdoos season! A popular Levantine hors d’oeuvre, Makdoos is pickled eggplants stuffed with peppers, walnuts and garlic.
- 5 kilos small thin eggplants
- 1 kg walnuts
- 3 kg red chilly peppers
- 10 garlic cloves
- generous amount of sea salt
- olive oil
- Clean the eggplants keeping the green stem.
- Cook the eggplants in boiling water for 15 minutes.
- Let the eggplants cool. Remove the green stems. Cut open the eggplant 3/4 through from one side.
- Line a large strainer with thin gauze fabric. Line up the eggplants in the strainer sprinkling a generous amount of salt in between layers until all eggplants are lined up.
- Close the fabric on the eggplants. Add weight so that the eggplant releases its water. Keep for 24 hours.
- Prepare the filling.
- Fill each eggplant until fully stuffed.
- Soak the tender eggplants in olive oil. Serve around a week later. The rest can be deep freezed in freezer bags. Remove from freezer, defrost and soak in oil for a couple of days before serving. This retains the texture and flavor of the garlic, pepper and walnuts for a longer period of time.Filling
- Using a meat mincer or food processor, mince the pepper finely. Strain from excess water.
- Finely crush the garlic.
- Cut the walnuts manually. Using a food processor might make them too small and therefore end up paste-like.
- Mix pepper, garlic, and walnuts with 1/3 cup olive oil and a generous amount of salt. Add more of each ingredient to taste, keeping in mind to have the mixture slightly salty.
Makdoos are great companions at the breakfast table; whether you are having eggs, labneh, vegetables or it alone with a cup of tea. My favorite way of serving makdoos is in a salad form: a bed of minced parsley, topped with minced makdoos, chopped tomatoes and spring onions. Yum!