Eggplant Stuffed with Lebanese Rice and Slow-Braised Beans Recipe
Long lunches always involve Lebanese food for our family. Not only because it’s our heritage but it’s just so well suited to picking and grazing, with lots of dips, salads, pickles and slow-cooked dishes. Try using flatbread to scoop up these saucy beans; it’s the traditional way to eat them.
- 2 nests egg vermicelli (see note)
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 cup long-grain rice, washed
- 2 large eggplants, halved lengthwise
- 400g tin green lentils, drained
- 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- Slow-Braised Beans
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- ½ brown onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 500g green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup Greek-style yoghurt,
- 1 tbsp tahini
- Juice 1 lemon
- Crush egg vermicelli nests with hands into medium saucepan so they are in short pieces. Add olive oil and stir frequently over high heat for 2 mins until noodles turn dark golden-brown colour and smell nutty. It can easily burn so watch carefully.
- Add washed rice and stir to combine.
- Add 2 cups cold water and bring to boil. Cover and turn heat down to low. Cook for 15 mins without removing lid until all liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, start beans. Add oil and onion to medium saucepan with lid. Cook on low for 5 mins, until starting to brown at edges. Add garlic and cook for 30 secs more. Add beans, tomato paste, cumin, cinnamon and 1 cup cold water. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Cover and cook on medium for 45 mins until beans are very soft. Check regularly and top up with a little water if getting dry. They should be saucy.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 200°C and scoop out flesh of eggplants, leaving 1cm border. Keep flesh for another use. Add drained lentils and toasted pine nuts to rice and stir through. Season with salt and pepper and scoop into eggplants. Place on tray and drizzle with extra olive oil. Bake for 25 mins until eggplant is tender.
- Mix together yoghurt, tahini and lemon juice until well combined. Serve on top of eggplant with beans on the side.
- Note: Not to be confused with Vietnamese rice vermicelli. Egg vermicelli is sold in supermarkets in the dried pasta section and looks like thin spaghetti shaped into round nests.
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