by Joudie Kalla

Rummaniyeh (Lentil & Aubergine Stew with Pomegranate Molasses)

Rummaniyeh (Lentil & Aubergine Stew with Pomegranate Molasses)

My grandmother Najla was born in Yaffa in Palestine and lived there until she met my grandfather Fouad and then moved to Al-Lydd. She has provided my whole family with some really wonderful memories, mainly around food and cooking, as that was what she spent most of her time doing. Her commitment and love to us all has inspired many a chef in our family. This dish is very typical of both Yaffa and El-Lyd in Palestine and it has become very popular in Gaza, too. So this recipe is dedicated to all those areas where devoted families have continued the traditions that have been passed onto the likes of me, and hopefully now, to you. Rummaniyeh means 'pomegranatey'. There are pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses all over this dish, draped over lentils and aubergine to create a tangy, earthy combination of utter goodness. A vegan dream!

Serves 4

250g (9oz) brown lentils

1 heaped tablespoon ground cumin

600ml (1 pint) water

1 aubergine, peeled and cubed into small pieces

1 tablespoon sea salt

50ml (2fl oz) olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

4-6 large garlic cloves, crushed

150ml (5fl oz) pomegranate molasses

juice of 2 lemons

1 pomegranate, seeded

fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish

Taboon bread or Khubez (pita bread), to serve

Put the lentils, cumin and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and then continue to boil for 10 minutes. Add the aubergine, salt and leave to simmer while you cook the garlic.

Set another pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and the crushed garlic and cook for a few minutes until they turn golden.

When the lentils and aubergine have been cooking for about 25 minutes, add the fried garlic and the pomegranate molasses and mix together. Cook for another 5 minutes, then stir through the lemon juice.

Place in a serving bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, scatter the pomegranate seeds over the top and finish with some parsley. Enjoy with hot taboon bread or Khubez (pita bread).

Tip: Taboon bread is a type of flat bread traditionally baked in a tabun oven and is soft, slightly chewy and doesn't tear easily. It is sold as street food, stuffed with hummus, falafel or shaved meat and is a staple bread in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Recipe and images extracted from Palestine on a Plate: Memories from my mother's kitchen by Joudie Kalla, photography by Ria Osbourne, published by Jacqui Small (£25).

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