For this Meatless Monday, I would like to introduce you to Lebanese Maghmour!
What the heck is magmour, you ask?
Good question! I wondered the same thing when I first came across this recipe.
What is Lebanese Maghmour?
Maghmour is a thick, velvety Lebanese vegetarian eggplant stew with chickpeas, garlic, onions, and tomatoes with a smoky, slightly spicy flavor. Maghmour is a dish that dates back to the end of the 19th century; sometimes called Lebanese Moussaka. However, it is quite different from the Greek moussaka; a casserole made with layers of eggplant, béchamel, and meat. Moussaka is an Arabic word that means chilled. Maghmour is served at room temperature or chilled.
Many people don’t like eggplant because of its texture. Eggplant can become mushy if not handled properly and normally, I salt eggplant whenever a recipe calls for eggplant. Salting eggplant can draw out the bitter juices of larger and older eggplants. The salt also tightens and firms up the flesh, making the eggplant less likely to soak up as much oil and of course, salt adds flavor.
With this recipe, I discovered that salting the eggplant prior to cooking was unnecessary. Roasting the eggplant in the oven tends to do the exact same thing as the salt, by drawing the moisture out and making the flesh firmer. This was a pleasant surprise and I may choose to roast eggplants for dishes in the future. Sometimes salting the eggplants can make the eggplant too salty if not rinsed enough.
(Read more about salting eggplant HERE)
About this Recipe
For this recipe, I cannot stress enough the importance that smoked paprika has on this dish. Smoked paprika is a bright red spice made from dried pimiento peppers that have been smoked over a fire, and ground into a fine powder. Smoked paprika brings a deep, smoky aroma and flavor to everything it touches. (Read more about smoked paprika HERE.)
To really boost up the smoke flavor, I chose to use fire-roasted tomatoes. I love adding fire-roasted tomatoes to dishes whenever possible. They add a richness to dishes that anyone will love. If you don’t add fire-roasted tomatoes to your dishes, consider it for extra flavor.
Adaptations To The Recipe
Another change I made to the original recipes was that I substituted basil for the mint. Mint is not something I have readily available and I didn’t want to purchase from the grocery store since you can find a variety of spices cheaper online. I chose dried basil for its slightly sweet, and fresh aromatic flavor.
In addition, I decided to make the broth richer, by using a vegetable broth instead of water. To me, dishes are all about layers of flavor and I felt that the vegetable broth was another way to add flavor.
Regardless of what you call it, this comforting vegan eggplant and chickpea stew is delicious and it is easy to see why Maghmour has been around for centuries.
If you don’t try new cuisines often I highly encourage you to do so. Trying cuisines from other cultures is a great way to get you out of a rut in the kitchen and can inspire you to create your own dishes using different techniques and flavors.
What are your thoughts about this dish? Comment below!
p.s. Are you participating in Meatless Monday as part of a new year challenge to eat healthier? Learn more about Meatless Monday HERE!
- 1 large eggplant about 1 ½ pounds
- 15 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 large onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- Kosher salt to taste
- 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes with juices
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 to 2 cups vegetable stock
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Cut the eggplant into two-inch cubes. Toss the cubes onto the baking sheet with half of the olive oil. Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender and browned.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large heavy pot with lid, over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Saute until translucent; about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne, and basil; cook for 3 more minutes.
- Add tomato paste, and allow it to brown slightly. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and roasted eggplant; bring to a simmer. Add in ½ cup vegetable stock as necessary to maintain a stew-like consistency. I only used one cup, however, the stock may not be necessary at all. Cook 20 to 30 minutes, until flavors combine well.
- Serve warm with a little extra basil sprinkled over.
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