This is a recipe for tepsi, a layered baked casserole dish from Iraq, which I'm borrowing from someone who borrowed it from someone else. Not overly spiced, but frying the components and baking the final dish gives the flavors a chance to intensify.
- 2 large eggplants
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1⁄3 kg ground beef
- 2 medium potatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- corn oil
- Peel the eggplant in wide stripes and remove stems. Cut the eggplant into rounds about 1" thick.
- Peel and slice the potatoes into 1" thick round slices, set aside. Slice the onions the same way. Peel the garlic and crush it using one of those little garlic contraptions. Slice the tomatoes.
- Heat about 1/2 cup of oil in a non-stick pan and fry the eggplant slices until each piece is light golden. In the same oil, lightly fry the potatoes- they don't have to cook all the way through. Set aside. In the same pan, fry the onion, and set aside. Drain the fried pieces on some paper towels.
- Mix the ground beef, half of the crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Make small meatballs and fry them. Set aside.
- Mix about 2 1/2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, the remainder of the crushed garlic, salt (about 3 teaspoons), and pepper (preferably white pepper) and -- you guessed it -- set aside.
- In a baking dish, arrange the eggplant pieces so they slightly overlap (do 2nd layer if necessary.) On top of the eggplant, arrange the potato slices, then the onion, then the slices of tomato on the very top. Arrange the meatballs in between the tomato slices, spreading them evenly. Pour the tomato paste mixture on top of all of this. Arrange the meatballs in between the tomato slices, spreading them evenly.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170-180 c, for 45-60 mins, be careful not to burn --
- This dish is served with Basmati rice or any other kind of rice -- we prefer Basmati or 'Ammbar'.