eggplant kuku

by Stevie on January 27, 2011

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My parents were in town over the weekend. They live way across the Country in Virginia, so a visit is a welcome treat. This was a working trip as they’re paying for us to have our kitchen remodeled. That is incredibly generous!

eggplant kuku

eggplant kuku

We didn’t have time for sightseeing as we spent most of it planning for the new kitchen, ordering things, negotiating bids, etc. I had no idea how tremendously stressful changing the kitchen could actually be! My folks are pros and are very excited about the project! My father keeps reminding me that this will be his “sixth kitchen.” The first two he remodeled himself. He tries to reassure me that “next time” I won’t have any problems arranging things on my own. I’m still far from convinced on that, and pray that this will be my first and only kitchen remodel.

That said, we planned an extra special dinner in their honor. Hegui made his classic quinoa love. I bought an aged magnum of Châteauneuf du Pape, we invited several friends, we had a big leafy salad and we even grilled steak for the meat eaters in the family. I made this eggplant kuku as a side for the meal.

I’d never made or even heard about kukus before. There are lots of recipes for them in my new favorite cookbook, Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij. To me, they seem sort of like elaborate omelets or perhaps quiche without crust. I used a lot more oil than was recommended in the book to cook the eggplant, which makes this a bit naughty. But what could I do? Eggplant is always so thirsty for olive oil. The dish turned out to have a wonderful, subtle flavor and seemed a big success at the party.

eggplant kuku

2 large eggplant
¾ cup olive oil or butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 eggs
4 tbsp chopped parsley
¼ tsp saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp warm water
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp and 1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Peel eggplant and cut each into about five slices lengthwise. Retain some of the eggplant peel to make simple decorations on top of the kuku. (I soaked the peel with the eggplant and while I pan-fried the flesh, I trimmed the peel into more uniform strips.) Soak eggplant in water with 2 tbsp salt for about twenty minutes. Drain, rinse and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a large skillet, fry eggplant slices in about “¼ cup” olive oil until they soften and become golden brown. I did this in two batches. Remove to a large bowl and mash. Sauté onion and garlic in same pan until slightly browned. Add to mashed eggplant.

Pour ¼ cup olive oil in round baking dish and let heat in oven.

In another bowl, beat eggs then mix in parsley, saffron, limejuice, baking powder, flour, 1 tsp salt and black pepper. Pour eggplant vegetable mix into eggs and fold together well. Pour into hot baking dish. Carefully place retained eggplant peel over top in a decorative way.

Bake uncovered for thirty minutes. Pour remaining ¼ cup olive oil over eggplant. Bake another thirty minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Serve and enjoy!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley January 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm

The kuku looks delish! And boy are you lucky to have such generous parents! Hope the re-mod goes well. Post some pics of the new kitchen when it’s done!

Stevie January 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

You’re right, Shelly, the folks are super kind! I’m already in a twist about the remodel plans. There is so many details that it is easy to get super stressed out, and so far, nothing has actually happened yet. I’m going to post some pics of the deplorable state of the current kitchen soon.

tasteofbeirut January 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I love kukus! I own that book or another one by the same author, I love it! I had decided to try all these kukus,and the only one I managed to do so far is the green beans one.
Good luck on the kitchen remodel, I am sure you are going to be so much happier in your kitchen and even more motivated to cook your masterpieces.

Tom @ Tall Clover Farm February 1, 2011 at 10:14 am

Love your blog and these great vegetarian recipes, an area where I can use all the help I can get. Thanks for visiting my blog, so glad to be introduced to your flavorful lives. I’ll be back! And as for the dog capes, nope, Mom has not gone into biz quite yet, but I’m encouraging her. Well wishes, Tom

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