Eggplant Pilaf (version III)

Patlicanli Pilav

2 large eggplants
2 cups cold water
2 cups rice
3 cups hot water
1 tablespoon of dried mint
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the stems off the eggplants. Then peel off a half-inch- wide strip of skin lengthwise, leaving the next inch with the skin on. Repeat until you have a striped effect. Then cut eggplants into cubes and soak for half an hour in salted cold water to extract the bitter juice. Remove from water and squeeze well and, if possible, dry them.

Fry eggplants in hot oil until golden brown on all sides and set aside.

Sauté rice in a saucepan with 1/4 cup olive oil for 2 minutes, then add hot water and cook for 5 minutes. When rice absorbs water, add eggplants, mint, black pepper and salt and cook over low heat for 10 minutes more. Serve hot or cold.

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