Mesa'ah is Egyptian fried eggplant in a garlic spicy tomato sauce, and it's a very common dish in Egypt. It's eaten with fresh pita bread, and it's absolutely delicious. This recipe uses simple ingredients and comes together in about 30 minutes.
Ingredients You'll Need:
- Eggplant: The best eggplant to use for this recipe is purple eggplant like the ones below.
- Garlic: Always use the fresh stuff!
- Tomatoes: You will need beefsteak, tomatoes on the vine, or Roma tomatoes.
- Vinegar: This recipe has just a slight amount of distilled white vinegar.
- Olive oil: Alternatively you can use a high smoke point oil like canola oil or vegetable. I prefer to use olive oil because I like how it tastes. Olive oil has a lower smoke point, so if using olive oil be mindful of the heat on the pan.
- Spicy pepper: If you like some heat, you can add a few small spicy peppers.
- Salt and pepper
You will also need:
- Chef's knife and cutting board
- Wide nonstick frying pan
Tips and Tricks
- Fry the eggplant first. Prior to making the garlic tomato sauce, fry the eggplant and set it aside.
- Cook the tomato sauce for at least 15 minutes. The sauce changes flavor as it cooks over the stovetop. At a minimum, I cook the tomato sauce for 15 minutes. Sometimes, I cook the sauce a little bit longer.
- Add a fresh pepper for a little bit of spice. Alternatively, you can add some crushed red pepper as well.
- Fry the garlic before adding the strained tomatoes.
- Once the tomato sauce is finished, add the fried garlic.
What is the Healthiest Way to Cook Eggplant?
You can steam eggplant or roast eggplant without oil. My American grandfather always said, "No fat, no taste" when we were grocery shopping as he added Little Debbie snacks to the grocery cart. My opinion is, let's use fat but in a smart way.
So I pan fry this eggplant with a little bit of EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil). I like cooking it this way because I can control how much oil is being used for the dish. If you don't measure out the oil, you will be surprised at how much oil actually gets soaked into the eggplant.
You want just enough olive oil to help cook and flavor the eggplant, but not too much where you are biting into a greasy eggplant. That's why it's important to use a nonstick frying pan for this recipe.
Another way to control the oil absorption into the eggplant is by pan roasting the eggplant in the oven. I use a pastry brush, and I brush the olive oil on both sides of the eggplant before putting it into the oven. If you roast the eggplant, you need to flip the eggplant over halfway through the cooking process.
Can You Eat The Skin Of Purple Eggplant?
Yes! The outer skin of purple eggplant can be eaten, although it may have a chewy and tough texture.
Want Another Recipe for Fried Eggplant?
To make a garlic-fried eggplant, just mash 4 garlic cloves with ½ teaspoon of cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mash 1 tablespoon of fresh green pepper (it can be spicy pepper or bell pepper) into the mashed garlic paste. And spread the garlicky love over the fried eggplant pieces.
We like to eat this fried eggplant with our baked falafel sandwiches. Another way to this eggplant is just with some fresh pita bread.
Egyptian Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce - Mesa'ah
- 1 lb purple eggplant
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 2 spicy pepper if preferred
- 4 garlic cloves
- 6 tablespoon frying oil to fry the eggplant
- 2 tablespoon white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry the Eggplant
- Wash the eggplant and slice into ¼" thick disks.
- In a large nonstick frying pan, add enough oil to coat the pan. Set the heat to medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add enough eggplant to just cover the pan. Don't stack the eggplant on top of each other.
- Using a fork, flip the eggplant once it's a golden brown. Cook on the other side.
- Add a paper towel to a plate, and place the fried eggplant onto the towel to soak the extra oil. Once the eggplant is all fried, set aside.
Make the Garlic Tomate Sauce
- Chop the garlic into very fine pieces.
- In a blender, blend the tomatoes. Strain the tomatoes using a fine mesh strainer.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook until medium brown.
- Add the vinegar, blended and strained tomatoes, and whole spicy pepper. Cook on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes to allow all of the flavors to infuse together.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste at the very end.
Assemble the Mesa'ah
- Add the fried eggplant into the garlic tomato sauce mixture. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes altogether.
- Serve with fresh pita bread.
- You can substitute canned tomato puree for fresh blended and strained tomatoes.
- The nutrition facts below are using a controlled amount of olive oil.