Lebanese Moussakka - مصقعة الباذنجان

Serves 3-4

1 eggplant
1 big onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 can of cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans
2 cups of canned cut tomatoes along with the juice
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cup of water
Olive oil
1 tablespoon of all spice (or 7 spices)
Salt and pepper

Take most of the skin of the eggplant by peeling it, leave some stripes and slice it into medium slices. Add salt and pepper, brush it with olive oil and bake it until it's half cooked. Meanwhile, cut the onion in half and slice it, medium slices too not too thin and add to a pan, sprinkle olive oil, some salt and pepper and let it cook until golden, then add the garlic and tomatoes. let all cook until tomatoes are tender then add the allspice, tomato paste and a cup of water and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Now add the chickpeas, mix all together then add the eggplant and let them simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Voila!

Tip: A lot of people still fry the eggplant (half way) and let them drain on a paper towel then add it to the mix. However, I bake them for less calories, but what I do also is after I take them out of the oven, in a non-stick pan I add some olive oil and add the eggplant to brown them a little bit. This gives them a wonderful flavor, color and texture.

For those who like to fry the eggplant, don't forget to sprinkle salt on those slices and let them drain their water half an hour at least before you fry them so they don't absorb a lot of oil.

Serve with any green salad.


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The Phoenicians

"Upon the Tsurian sea the people live
Who style themselves Phoenicians...
These were the first great founders of the world --
Founders of cities and of mighty states --
Who showed a path through seas before unknown.
In the first ages, when the sons of men
Knew not which way to turn them, they assigned
To each his first department; they bestowed
Of land a portion and of sea a lot,
And sent each wandering tribe far off to share
A different soil and climate. Hence arose
The great diversity, so plainly seen,
'Mid nations widely severed."

-- Dyonysius of Susiana, A.D. 3
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