Most Iranian/Persian dishes are quite time consuming and need patience and tedious work. It is well worth the effort. Anytime I make one of these tedious, time consuming dishes, I reminisce about my Mother and my childhood. My Mother was always in the kitchen, preparing all kinds of food. Everything was homemade… jams, preserves, pickles, tomato paste, yogurt, etc etc etc. She would send us off to school in her apron, and when she greeted us back from school, she was still in her apron, in the kitchen. And, she would give us news about what we were having for dinner!
When we got home from school and spotted lipstick on our Mother’s lips, we knew she had been out. Spontaneously, with excitement, we would ask, “Where were you? Where were you?”. We always knew she must have been shopping at the department store. That meant, we were going to be served something special for dessert, other than fruits, such as fancy cakes!
Mirza Ghassemi is a Northern Iranian, Gilan province originated appetizer or main. The dish is based on grilled eggplant (aubergine) distinct to the Caspian Sea region. The dish consists of eggplants with fair amounts of tomatoes and garlic, cooked with oil/butter, seasoned with tumeric, salt, pepper and eggs. Eggs are one of the key ingredients, fried before mixed with the other ingredients. Eggs are not meant to be used as binding agent. The dish is not intended to be an omelet.
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 Department stores in Japan have up to 3 basement floors dedicated to sale of food products.
 Mirza is a historical title of Persian origin, denoting the rank of a high nobleman or Prince. It is usually defined in English as a royal or imperial Prince of the Blood. Ghassem is a male name. Hearsay… ‘Prince Ghassem made this dish to please his jealous mistress.’ What? 😮
Mirza Ghassemi • میرزا قاسمی • Smoked Eggplant Tomato & Garlic
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 570 g/ 1¼ lb/ 6 Japanese eggplants (narrower eggplants for fewer seeds and to cook to the core)
• 680 g/ 1½ lb/ 6 ripe tomatoes
• 65 g/ 1 head garlic – makes about 2 Tbsp mashed & roasted (2 in the photo, but I used only 1 head)
• 3 large eggs (may be skipped for vegans, increase vegetables or reduce the seasonings accordingly)
• 1 tsp turmeric powder
• 1¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 3 Tbsp + ½ tsp olive oil, vegetable oil or butter, divided
◊ To roast the garlic… Place rack on middle oven shelf and preheat to 200°C / 400°F.
◊ Trim the top off the head of garlic to just expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Drizzle with ½ tsp of oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap in foil and bake for 40 ~ 45 minutes. (Comprehensive post on → how to roast garlic.)
◊ While the garlic is roasting… Insert tines of a fork all over the eggplants. Grill the eggplants and tomatoes on medium fire over the grill until well charred. Remain at the grill because this will take less than 10 minutes. Remove from the fire and let them cool down. (Eggplants are best when grilled over open fire, charcoal or gas grill. They may also be grilled on the top shelf of an oven until charred, with a tray on the lower shelf to catch the drippings.)
◊ As soon as they are cool enough to touch, remove the charred skin from the tomatoes and mash them (I removed the seeds too, but it is not necessary). Pour the mashed tomatoes into a small, non-stick saucepan. Add 1 Tbsp oil and on medium heat, stirring occasionally, let the excess liquid evaporate (not dry).
◊ Carefully remove the charred skin from the eggplants by pushing index finger under the skin to separate from the flesh. It is preferred to mash the eggplants rather than chopping them.
◊ When roasted garlic is cool enough to touch, squeeze the cloves out of their cases and mash.
◊ Add 1 Tbsp oil to a medium sized, non-stick fry-pan and place it on medium heat. First, add the mashed garlic and sautée, using a wooden spoon, for 20 seconds. Add the mashed eggplants and sautée for 1 minute. Add the mashed tomatoes, turmeric, salt, pepper, and sautée for 2 ~ 3 minutes or until visible liquids have evaporated. Push the mixture to the half side of the fry-pan. Add 1 Tbsp oil in the empty half and crack in three sunny-side-up eggs. Once the eggs start cooking and hardening, break the yolks with the wooden spoon and scramble the eggs. Then mix the scrambled eggs with the eggplant mixture. (Eggs are not meant to be used as binding agent. The dish is not intended to be an omelet.)
◊ Dish out into a shallow serving bowl or a plate and serve with lavash/bread or croccantini crackers, as appetizer. It can also be served with breads and salads as a meal.
~ Noushe jan • نوش جان ~
Eggplants are best when grilled over open fire, charcoal or gas grill. They may also be grilled on the top shelf of an oven until charred, with a tray on the lower shelf to catch the drippings.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?