This was my first dish that I have cooked. Second day of marriage, me and my husband decided to go store to shop for food and make a dish that we both like, so we decided to cook the Tabsey Betenjan (Eggplants dish). We went to the store, it was my first-time shopping for food and cooking, because my mom did it all. As we entered the store I did not know where to go to get the ingredients that need to make the dish, it took us about an hour to collect all the ingredient. When I went to the produce section it was so difficult for me to get the plastic bag from the roll. In older lady asked if I needed help to get the plastic bag, because how much I struggled with it and my husband standing looking at me and laughing. Well through time and through many years of marriage, I sure learned how.
Tabsey Betenjan is a tradition Iraqi dish, is one of my husband favorite dishes, every time I cook it, reminded him of his mother and how good she cooked it. It is layers of vegetables, it begins with potatoes on the bottom, eggplant, green peppers, red peppers, red and white onions, parsley, green onions, cilantro's, cubed beef and tomatoes past. Tabsey Betenjan is a side dish, it most likely served with rice and chicken. This dish it even tastes better the next day.
Different option to cook this recipe, you can change this recipe in any way you like, if you are vegetarian take out the beef and cook your dish with out it. If you do not like the beef, then use chicken, or ground beef, or even ground turkey. I always use tomatoes, I usually cut it into around shape and added to the dish, in this recipe I did not use it.
Plating your dish, In the Iraqi home they eat the Tabsey Betenjan (Eggplants dish) with rice and chicken, or lamp on the side, also the big bowl of salad.
1 pound of beef, cut into small bite-size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼-inch circles
½ cup vegetable oil (for frying eggplant, or can choose to roast eggplant *see below*)
1 white onion, cut into ¼-inch circles
1 red onion, cut into ¼-inch circles
1 green pepper, cut into a ¼-inch rounded shape
1 red pepper, cut into a ¼-inch rounded shape
2 plum tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch circles
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into ¼-inch circles
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Paprika powder to taste
Cumin to taste
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp paprika powder
3 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups tomato paste
4 cups water
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
¼ cup of green onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1 tbsp of cilantro, minced
½ of a long hot green pepper, minced *optional*
If choosing to roast eggplant: Generously drizzle eggplant with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and add to a lined baking sheet in a 400 F oven. Roast the eggplant for 20 minutes. Flip and roast until golden-brown and tender, 10 minutes more. When finished set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook the beef. In a skillet on medium-high heat add olive oil, add garlic until slightly browned. Add beef, season with salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin to taste. When cooked all the way through set aside in separate plate.
Cook the eggplant. When finished use same skillet and if frying eggplant add vegetable oil to skillet. Season the eggplant with salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Add eggplant rounds to hot oil and flip until both sides are slightly browned and tender. Add cooked eggplant to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Set aside. *If roasting eggplant follow the instructions above and ignore this step.*
Make your sauce. Combine all ingredients, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk together well. Set aside.
Layer your vegetables. In a glass baking dish begin to layer all of your vegetables, beginning with the potatoes.
Add slices of tomato, green and red peppers, eggplant, white and red onions until all vegetables have been used.
Next add beef over-top vegetables.
Next add your sauce, pouring over all of the vegetables and beef evenly.
Next add ½ of your garnish ingredients on top. Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover dish with foil and add to the oven for about 40 minutes. Uncover and put back into the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. Can use a fork to stab through the bottom and ensure potatoes and cooked through. When finished remove from the oven.
Add remaining garnish ingredients to top.
Serve alongside basmati rice, salad, and enjoy!