ADZHAPSANDALI Vegetable stew

Adzhapsandali is a vegetable stew, usually based on aubergine / eggplant.

Origin: Georgia

Other names: adzhapsandal

Until recently, most Georgian homes had a fire in the center of the large communal room with a shwatzetzkhli (large copper pot) hung by a chain from the ceiling, in which various stews were simmered, the main course of many meals. Outside was a clay oven, used to bake breads and casseroles. Vegetable dishes were either cooked in the pot or, pess commonly, baked in the oven. The most popular of these stews is adzhapsandali (Adzha is a province on the Black Sea). Some versians are soupy, while others are dry. Aubergine / eggplant, introduced by the Persians and subsequently becoming the Georgians' favorite vegetable, is commonly the heart of adzhapsandali; other produce is added depending on its availability and the discretion of the cook.

What distinguishes the stews of Georgian cookery from other vegetable stews is the large amount of fresh herbs and a kick from cayenne. Georgian Jews enjoy this lively stew hot on Sukkot and Friday night or at room temperature for Sabbath lunch. Adzhapsandali is served as a main course or a sude dish, typically accompanied with khachapuri (filled pastries) or mchadi (corn cakes).

Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish food

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. aubergine / eggplant
  • 1 large boiling potato
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. tomatoes
  • 1 medium green pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • Generous 2 tbsp. minced dill
  • Generous 2 tbsp. minced corianda / cilantro
  • Generous 2 tbsp. minced parsley
  • Generous 2 tbsp. minced basil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne (or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4 to 6.

Instructions:

Pierce the aubergine / eggplant and bake it in a preheated 190°C / 375°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, boil the potato in salted water until just tender. Cool, then peel and cube.

Sauté the onion in the oil until soft.

Drop the tomatoes into boiling water and cook them until soft, about 10 minutes.

Drain, then force through a sieve to make a puree.

Add the tomato puree to the onion along with the green pepper and the chopped garlic. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Peel the aubergine/ eggplant and cut it into cubes.

Add the cubes to the tomato mixture along with the cubed potato. Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat gently for 5 minutes more.

Cool to room temperature before serving.

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