I hope you are well and are not too frazzled by the hectic vibe that’s taken over our shopping centres!
I have made a really delicious chicken and vegan dish for all you food lovers to make for dinner.
Healthy and easy.
If you have both vegans or vegetarians at home, this is really easily adapted to them and it’s just a great meal for any night of the week.
Mejadra is a Middle-Eastern lentil and rice recipe that I grew up on and getting the recipe from my Mum was just impossible!
This is how it went:
"Hey Mum, I want to use your Mejadra recipe. Can you tell me how you make it?"
"Yes, very easy! You just boil some lentils with water, but don’t overcook, use lots of onions, pour some rice and cook all together."
"Thanks, can you give me quantities?"
"Quantities, who knows quantities, just use a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and lots of some things."
"Thanks, Mum, you’ve been a great help!"
"Any time, dear."
So folks here is my eggplant/chicken dish with a little bit of this and lots of that!
Before you look at the ingredients and method, I would like to quickly mention that I have had people come up to me and say I love your recipes but there are lots of ingredients! The recipes below can be made INDIVIDUALLY, the chicken can be made by itself and you can use plain rice.
The eggplant can be made on its own, and the Mejadra can be made on it’s own. I’m just giving you ideas to mix and match.
2 eggplants, cut in half
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon zaatar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons chilli flakes (optional)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
The spice mixture should make two tablespoons
Use whatever veggies you like
I used 2 carrots sliced, 1 zucchini and 4 baby capsicum, but you can improvise with anything.
1 cup lentils
3 cups of water
Salt according to taste
1 1/2 cups rice
2 tablespoons oil
3 cups of water
Salt according to taste
Roasted pine nuts, a handfull
3 large brown onions cut into a half circle
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
7 medium dates
1/4 cup water
8 assorted chicken pieces
Salt and pepper according to taste
4 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
A handful of finely chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 200c. Make a diamond incision by cutting four parallel incisions in the cut side of eggplant half, without cutting through the skin (see picture). Repeat at 45-degree angle to get a diamond-shaped pattern.
In a small bowl, mix the 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 tablespoon zaatar, 2 teaspoons mixed spice, 2 teaspoons chill flakes, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
Place the eggplant halves, cut side up on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Using a basting brush, brush the eggplants with1/2 the zaatar mixture. Turn the eggplant face down. Roast for 25 minutes. Take out of the oven, turn the eggplant to face up, spray with oil and roast for a further 15 minutes or until flesh is soft and nicely browned (see picture).
While eggplant is in the oven add 1/2 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, 1 tablespoon honey or jam to the remaining za'atar mixture and coat veggies. On a baking tray lined with a baking paper roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
Mix 4 teaspoons of honey and 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses in a bowl and set aside.
Place chicken on a baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with salt and pepper and spray with oil all over. Place in the oven and roast until almost ready (roughly 30-35 minutes) take out of the oven and spoon some of the liquid from the chicken about 1-2 tablespoons into the honey and pomegranate molasses and baste the chicken. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes before taking it out.
Rinse 1 cup of lentils. Pour lentils into a pot with three cups of water and boil for 20minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, fry the onions with the oil over a medium flame, till brown in colour and set aside.
drain the lentils with a sieve, dry the pot and add the cooked onions. Return the lentils to the pot and throw the rice on top with 2 tablespoons of oil and salt. Stir all ingredients before adding 3 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the flame to medium-low and allow to cook till rice is cooked through. Check to make sure it’s not drying out.
PS - I love hearing from you! Let me know how it went and feel free to spread the word/passion/love, the more the merrier!