Saturday, February 26, 2011


oil and salt at various points
1 large eggplant
2 onions
4 c water
1 head garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
generous pinch saffron
generous grating of pepper
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t allspice
1 head cauliflower
2 small potatoes
2 c long-grain white rice, uncooked

Prep the eggplant: peel it and cut into small cubes. Toss with salt, put in a colander, cover with a plate weighed down with a can of something, and let drain for a while (I left it for 2 hr but less is just fine). Rinse off the salt and let dry.

Prep the onion: cut into slices or thin wedges, and caramelize in a bit of oil over medium-low heat for 45 min.

Prep the stock: peel and crush the cloves of garlic (but don't chop). Simmer the garlic, cinnamon, bay leaf, saffron, pepper, cardamom, allspice, and 3/4 t salt in the water for an hour or more.

Prep the veggies: cut cauliflower into florets and potatoes into half-moons. Heat 1/4 c oil in a large pan and separately fry the potatoes, eggplant, and cauliflower until lightly browned but not yet cooked through, transferring to a plate (or just to the pot, see below) when done and adding more oil as necessary.

Prep the whole thing: grease the bottom and sides a large pot (I used earth balance). Line the bottom with potato, then layer on the eggplant, then onion, then cauliflower, then the garlic from the stock, then the rice. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick from the stock, and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Pour the hot stock over the pot and add extra boiling water if needed to cover the rice plus a cm or so. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for 30-40 min until the water is absorbed, then turn off the burner and let sit covered for another 10-15 min. Carefully invert onto a large enough serving dish (which for me had to be a baking sheet) and serve.

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