October, I happened to be in the heart of the Middle Eastern community in
Paterson, NJ, surrounded by more ME stores and restaurants than you could possibly imagine.
|Packaged dried eggplant skins|
I was pretty confident I’d be able to find the skins even though some ME stores don’t carry them. The fact that dried eggplant skins are available this time of year made my search a little easier. After spotting a huge display at Nouri’s, I
bought two bags – one for me; one for my daughter.
|All tied together on a string like a necklace|
|Their sizes varied and the skin in the center has a large hole in it.|
I was especially pleased to find there were 28 dried skins in the bag I bought. Sizes vary, and some were torn or had gaping holes, but that’s not a problem.
My bag of dried skins had to endure a flight from NY to FL,
so a few got a wee-bit crumbly, but most of them survived.
dolma I promised a few months back.
|Haiganoush Nanny’s recipe for Dried Eggplant Skin Dolma made in ‘The Armenian Kitchen‘|
This is the Dried Eggplant Skin Dolma recipe my paternal grandmother,
Haiganoush Dabbakian, used to make. My aunt Zabelle Dabbakian Keil (we call her
Zippi) sent it to me.
shops, they usually come in one dozen packets.
Sometimes they’re very small and other times they’re good size.”
refrigerate until ready to use.
|Dolma filling ingredients|
Ingredients for filling:
and reserve the rest to create the sauce for the dolma.)
mix the rest with reserved stewed tomatoes for cooking)
|Skins cooking gently|
“Put a large pot of salted, boiling water on the stove.
Place the dried eggplants in the boiling water, stir a few times to separate
them, then allow them to simmer (for about 15 to 20 minutes). Don’t
stir too much, as they are fragile and you won’t want them to break up. The
simmering will soften them up. When you see that they have opened up and
softened, turn the heat off and just allow them to stay in the water for just a
little while (about another 10 minutes). When you feel they’re soft enough to work
with, drain them and allow the eggplants to cool.
|Cooked skins cooling on a rack|
filling them with the prepared “meechoog”. (See above) NOTE: Don’t pack in too much filling as the rice needs room to expand.
|Filled skins placed in a circle in a large pot|
Line the dolmas in a circle in a large pot and when they’re
all placed, cover all with additional stewed tomatoes which have been diluted
with water and also laced with lemon juice. This should cover all the contents.
(Place a plate on top of the dolma to weigh them down.) Cover and cook for
about one hour.”
|Stewed tomatoes placed on top of eggplant|
Serve in a bowl with some of the sauce, and/or with plain yogurt, if desired.