Eggplant and dark lentils are such a paring! We loved them here – this is an extraordinary dish – and we love them in this recipe. When the eggplant is cooked with the lentils it becomes very silky and simply melts into them. This is the joy of Rummaniyeh.
Pomegranates also feature strongly in Rummaniyeh. In fact, Rumman means pomegranate, so this dish’s name, Rummaniyeh, means pomegranatey. Pomegranates are cherished in Palestine – they are an integral part of Palestinian eating, and are regarded as a symbol of abundance and prosperity. The cheap and easy recipe uses rich, sweet-tart pomegranate molasses and pomegranate kernels (when in season), for a tangy stew in which the eggplants melt into the lentils as they gently simmer. Crispy onions, fried garlic, zingy lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, hot chilli and generous amounts of olive oil are added, to create layers of flavour and transform the primary ingredients.
Today’s recipe had its genesis in the one in Falastin by Tamini. I made some adjustments to make it simpler, with more lentils, and also to get that simmered silkiness of the eggplants.
Eat warm or at room temperature with pitta or tafoon (Middle Eastern flatbread) and a chopped salad. I like a bowl of spiced yoghurt with it. You can serve Rummaniyeh at any time, but it is especially good for breakfast!