This delicious Iranian casserole is from the book Together: Our Community Cookbook. It's one of my favorite cookbooks and this dish is a great example of why. It's rich and hearty while still being a healthy, and oh so very delicious dish. Frying the vegetables beforehand was a little tedious but after the first bite I knew it was something I would be happy to do again and again. When I shared my finished dish in a local cooking group someone there informed me that she ate this growing up in Egpyt too.
1 lb. ground beef
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 c. panko crumbs
1/4 c. milk
1 c. olive oil
2 long, thin, eggplants, sliced
4 medium thin skinned potatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. water
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp. tamarind paste
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 roma tomatoes, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a bowl combine the panko and milk and leave for 5 minutes. Add the beef, 3 cloves of the garlic, the curry powder, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Mix well to combine. For the mixture in to 16 meatballs.
Pre-heat the oven to 400*F.
Heat half the olive oil in a pan. Fry the eggplant and then the potatoes, then batches, on both sides until golden but not cooked all the way through. Add more olive oil as needed.
Add the meatballs and brown on both sides. Remove from the pan.
In the same pan saute the onion and bell pepper until tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two, just until fragrant. Arrange the cooked eggplant slices, potatoes, sliced tomatoes, and meatballs on top of the onions in a spiral pattern.
Combine the water, tomato paste, tamarind paste, and sugar. Pour over the vegetables and meatballs in the pan. sprinkle the top with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the top of the pan with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked through.
Serve with rice or flatbread to soak up the lovely sauce.