Eggplant Pilaf in Olive Oil

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1 medium eggplant
2 cups long grain rice
3/4 cup olive oil
3 chopped onions
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large ripe tomato, diced
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh dill, chopped

Cut stem off eggplant. Using vegetable peeler, peeling lengthwise, remove a strip of skin, leave next strip on. Continue to peel in this striped fashion. Cube eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle generously with salt and set aside for 3 hours. Rinse well. Drain as well as possible, but don't tear the eggplant.

Soak rice in hot water mixed with 2 teaspoons salt, until the water turns cool. Drain well and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a heavy pan and cook eggplant cubes, stirring frequently until tender and golden brown on all sides. Drain to remove excess oil.

Add onions and pine nuts to same pan. sauté for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in eggplant and rest of ingredients except dill. Add 3 cups hot water, bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook till all the water has been absorbed. Stir in the dill. Ensure that the skillet lid has a very good seal. Cover the skillet with a clean towel and put the lid on top of that. Set pan on a heat diffuser over the lowest possible heat and leave it for 30 minutes. Stir. Serve cold.

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