Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pickled Eggplant & Green Pepper in Olive Oil - Makdous Batinjan wa Fleifleh


Makdous المكدوس‎   are oil cured eggplants. Part of Levantine cuisine, they are tiny, tangy eggplants stuffed with walnuts, red pepper, garlic, olive oil and salt and chilli pepper.

And the Beqaa Region is famous for the best produce and this type of pickles are famous in that Region, especially in Baalback Area.  Even the eggplant growing in that part of Lebanon taste meatier and tastier than the rest.

Lebanese Mountain Villages are well known for their food specialties. As winter takes hold, villagers resort to their pantries for preserved delicacies.   As I mentioned before my mom was born in a small town outside Baalback called Fakha, like every woman there , they spend the summer preparing all kinds of Mouneh , by preserving their vegetables turning them into pickles or drying them on a thread to be dehydrated in the cold snowy winter.  The fruits are preserved into jams, compote or dried, the fresh beans and legumes are dried, and the wheat berries are turned into burghul or freikheh and or grounded into flour.  Meat are preserved with its fat and kept in jars to be used during the winter cold days.

This Makdous Recipe or Pickled Eggplant is a specialty to the Baalback region, and I learned this recipe from my mom’s cousin who became one of the best professional Makdous makers ever.  Every year she prepares more than 100 jars, mostly are given as house gift and every one waits for his/her gift when she returns from the village.
Pickles are a staple in the Lebanese Cuisine we eat them with our food like a side dish.
the eggplant and green peppers are usually served with a vegetarian dishes or in a pita sandwich.  I hope that you will be encourage to give these pickles a try , you will not regret at all.


Makdous Batinjan - Eggplant cured in olive oil


1- boil enough water to cover the eggplant
2- add the eggplant and cover with a towel to avoid turning them dark
3- boil for couple of minutes only
4- make sure a bowl of ice water is ready
5- move the eggplant from hot to ice water to stop cooking
6- when cool leave in the colander cover with a tray over them and weigh with some food cans to drain all the water - leave for three days
7- stuff the center with a mix of minced garlic, toasted walnut, kosher salt and red chili
8-add them in the jar and turn the jar upside down for another three days, or until no more water is running out (leave then on the counter not in the fridge)
9- stand the jar up and fill it  with good quality olive oil, yes you might need couple of litres .  close tightly
10- the makdous will be ready within 3 1/2 weeks
11- choose small round purple eggplant for pickling.  The flesh is white, barely has any seeds
enjoy with your meal, or as a sandwich Amazing flavour

Pickled Green Pepper

preparing the green peppers similar to the eggplant.
1- boil the water then shut the heat, wash clean the heart either by opening the bottom or the top... i did the top, as i choose a long peppers.
2-leave the peppers in the boiling water for couple of minutes only, then move to colander to drain
3-the stuffing: garlic mashed (you need at least two big heads for each recipe) one cup or more toasted walnuts, and red chili depends on your taste, kosher salt around tbsp.
4-stuff the peppers and stack in the jar then turn the jar upside down for three days to drain. 
5- Turn the jars up and cover with pure olive oil, close and let it
ferment for at least three - four weeks...

I used Italian Green Peppers as I have a problem digesting the round green peppers.
You can try any kind of green pepper for this recipe, even hot peppers will work

If you like to use the vinegar method of pickling eggplant this is the recipe:

1- clean the top of the small eggplant by taking the hat off.
2- boil in water for couple of minutes with a towel over them (the towel will prevent the eggplant from turning dark)
3- quickly turn them into ice water to stop the cooking, you might need to change the water 
4-add 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the bottom of 1 1/2 ltr jar .(in Lebanon we use white wine or red wine vinegar or apple cider all home made so the acid amount is higher than what you get in the store) 
5- boil some water (i usually fill the jar with tap water then measure the amount to make sure how much i need and it takes less when its filled with pickles.  Measure the water , boil it and add from 2-3 tables spoons kosher salt and let it cool completely. 
6- Fill the jar with the cooled eggplant over the vinegar, add the cooled water to cover the eggplants, and cover the jar tightly and leave to ferment for three to four weeks. 


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those look delicious, and more particularly the pickled eggplant!



Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

This would be so nice in a sandwich Arlette! :D So simple but so tasty :)

Angie's Recipes said...

These pickled stuffed eggplants are so unique!

Azure Islands Designs said...

Wow...that looks amazing Arlette...I like that you show detailed photos of the procedures! Lets cooks know what it should look like...I know that sounds funny but if you've never prepared something before it is nice to know you've done it correctly!!! :0)

See you soon...

tasteofbeirut said...


Thanks for posting this recipe! I have never made makdous, partially because I did not have a good recipe!

Mary said...

I love all the new foods you are introducing me to. Your photos today are stunning. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Angie's Recipes said...

Arlette: Store the green tea powder well-wrapped in the freezer if don't use them all at once. I still have some in the freezer that I bought a couple of years ago from China. :-) So, no worries.

Kathleen said...

Wow! These sound flipping amazing!

Barbara Bakes said...

I have never eaten anything like this. It sounds so fun and exotic.

Fimère said...

un très bon mélange de saveurs qui me plait énormément ça ne peut être que délicieux
bonne soirée

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I never had anything like this before Arlette. It sure sounds delicious! Especially the pickled eggplant - would love to try it.

Lisa Michelle said...

My beautiful pal (it comes right back at you), I LOVE pickled veggies, but stuffed pickled veggies? WOW! I wish I had those jars in my possession now! I'm literally salivating!

Trish said...

What can I say? These look quite incredible and you are one talented lady!

elra said...

Pickle eggplant, this is a new dish for me. I like it Arlette. I know I can always learn something new from you.

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

so muc of deliciousness in one post, u sure have the best stuff in town:-))
Also wanted to tell u it would be wonderful if u could extend the day for us to send the entries for ur lovely event,say to d end of the month but guess its too late to say that now:-))
Every body must have already send in the goodies and look at me bloomin late here:-)))
i had something in mind, but it wont be another 2 or 3 days till i go shopping and pick the stuff:-(((

Madeleine said...

I love this Makdous. I'll ask mom to make it and am sure we'll all lick our fingers. Thanks Arlette.

Maggie said...

I love this recipe!!!

I'm also into the food blog world, and it would be great if you can take a look at my site and leave me any comment/suggestion.

Take care and keep posting!

Stefani Ernst said...

I have a question, if you leave the eggplant for 3 days to drain, won't it go bad? Do you put it in the fridge?
It looks delicious!


Tony said...

Hi Arlette!
Keefek? You have no idea how much I love makdous batinjan. I've never tried to pickle them myself -- I've only had the ones my sito makes :D I'm planning a trip to halab next month, and this is high on my to-eat list haha. Thanks for sharing!

firstlady said...

Makdous is very tasty and well worth the wait. The only thing I did was not to use the seeds in the chili as I do not like so hot, but other than that it is a wonderful dish. My mother in law also used red bell peppers instead. so good. Small eggplants are hard to find here but keep looking you will find them in the gourmet sections or stores or maybe even in the Arabic or Indian stores. Good eating!!!!!

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Lanna said...

Absolutely amazing, i'v never seen anything like it before, dying to know how it tastes :) you don't see stuff like this even in Papa Louie restaurant games. love the pickled eggplant, will test the recipe today.