The makdoos مكدوس (oil cured/pickled eggplant) is a common ingredient for breakfast and dinner among the levant region. Preparing the delicious eggplant pickles is tradition every summer (August to September) among local families, where the women gather and lend a hand in pickling, stuffing and preserving the mini eggplant. The eggplant are boiled slightly to tenderize its texture and tough skin. The excess of water is then removed by slightly pressing the cooked eggplant overnight. A process that takes time, patience and skill. The following day, a mixture of crushed walnuts, chilis, garlic and generous amount of salt is used as a base of the stuffing (other versions include coriander, pomegranate seeds or dried red peppers). The final product is then stacked in jars, pressed softly and flipped overnight to remove all the excess water. One last step of immersing the stuffed eggplant in extra virgin olive oil. A delicious item that can be indulged straight ahead or throughout the year, where the flavors infuse to give a signature yet delicious dimension to this middle eastern delicacy.
The peculiar strong taste of the makdoos laymoun مكدوس الليمون inspired chef Karmah to share this recipe, one which she learnt from her Syrian grandmother Nahla. She believes that this recipe would be very well appreciated and easily incorporated along the Jordan Trail, knowing that its ingredients are common and available in Jordan. “They would definitely be wonderful additions to the menu,” she says. Chef Karmah as well shares a Makdoos Tacos recipe, where she combines different flavors of the middle eastern breakfast table together, encouraging us to combine whichever flavors we prefer in one bite!
Makdoos Laymoun: walnut stuffed preserved lemons
- 3 Kg whole unwaxed lemon
- 0.2 Kg whole walnuts
- 50 gr red chili paste
- 2 gr salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Thoroughly wash and dry lemon
- Using a sharp turning knife make a clean cut by removing the top part of each lemon- reserving the top. Trim the bottom as well making sure not to cut through
- Using a kusa (zucchini) de-pulper remove the lemon pulp with care not to go through the skin. Reserve the lemon juice and pulp for other uses. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all lemons are done
- Roughly crush the walnuts
- Place in a bowl, adding chili and salt. Mix. Adjust according to taste.
- Stuff each lemon with walnut mixture and then cover with the reserve lemon lids (from step 2). Making sure they tightly fit
- Place finished lemons in a clean jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside for a few weeks until the lemons skins pickle and become tender
- Enjoy with warm bread and sliced tomatoes or assemble your own makdoos taco