Eggplant caviar - contributed by Michael Hobbes

Original recipe from al-Baghdadi:

Badhinjan Bi-Laban. Take medium-sized eggplants, cut off the leaves and half the stalks, and half boil in salt and water; then remove and dry well. Throw into milk and garlic. Refine fresh sesame oil, add a little cummin and coriander, and into this place the eggplant. Sprinkle with some blattes de Bysance and sesame, and serve.

- Jung, Nizamat, trans. A Baghdad Cookery-Book by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Karim al-Katib al-Baghdadi as compiled by Dr. Daoud Chelebi. Mosul, 1923. Found in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks as compiled by Duke Cariadoc of the Bow and Duchesa Diana Alena, Private Printing, 1991.

Modern recipe:

  • Medium Eggplant
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Coriander
  • Sesame Oil
  • Salt 
In a mortar, crush the coriander and cumin and set aside. Next, peel the eggplant and slice in two parts lengthwise. Score the surface of the eggplant. Blanch in hot water if you wish and remove. Crush fresh garlic and rub into scoring along with sesame oil. Then sprinkle with cumin and coriander. On a flat baking pan place the halves so that the scoring is turned up. Cover with butter and bake at 350° F for half and hour. Chop finely, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Adapted from: Mazda, Maideh. In A Persian Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from the Near East. Rutland, VT: C.E. Tuttle, 1989, 12.

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Michael Hobbes is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, living in Columbus, Ohio. He was recently awarded the Laurel, the SCA's highest honor for arts & sciences, for his work in cooking.

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