Aubergines have a very special place in my heart, they always remind me of my time visiting farms in the Jordan Valley in Palestine.
I used to manage a large livelihoods programme in Palestine, a lot of which was agricultural. We had farmers in the Jordan valley in the project who I always loved to visit. You’d step out of the car into this perfectly dry heat and be met by the farming families offering small glasses of sweet tea and a crate to sit on under a date palm. You’d see row upon row of little bushes that look just like little trees, which surprises many who expect them to be on vines like a courgette.
The Jordan Valley is critical to Palestinian farming yet it is severely under threat from the Israeli occupation, with 50 Palestinian communities-most of them poor farmers- being driven out by Israeli authority measures to make their lives intolerable. Palestinians aren’t allowed to use 85% of their own land and restricts their access to water, to build homes or even agricultural infrastructure like greenhouses or water harvesting tanks instead servicing the 110,000 settlers who live and farm the land illegally.
This is why is it so important to ensure you are asking your grocer the country of origin of the foods you are buying- form fresh herbs, avocadoes, dates and peppers, a lot of fresh produce in the UK comes from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
I always serve this Muttabal along with cut vegetables and crisps or bread when we have guests to keep them from going hungry while the main event is being prepared. I also always serve it with grilled fish.
2 large aubergines
5 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
- turn the biggest ring of your gas hob onto high and set both aubergines on it. Let them sit for 20-30 minutes turning only all four sides to ensure skin is evenly scorched and the aubergine has deflated.
- Meanwhile, add all the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
- Once the aubergine is ready remove from the heat and let cool, before removing all the skin
- Roughly chop the aubergine’s cooked flesh and add it to the tahini mixture, mushing and mixing as you go.
- Once all mixed in, add a glug of olive oil and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and serve