Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Lamb stew with green beans and aubergine dip

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Serves two:



  • 30 g butter
  • 300 g boned leg of lamb, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • piece of leek, sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper,
  • finely diced
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • pinch allspice
  • black pepper, salt
  • 200 ml water
  • 70 g tomato puree
  • 200 g green beans
  • marjoram



  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • garlic to taste
  • 1 tbsp tahina, salt
  • beefsteak tomato
  • basil leaves
  • paprika

On festive occasions beautiful damask cloth decorated the tables of our Dutch great-grandmothers, but authentic dishes from Damascene regions were hardly ever served. In the seventeenth century French chefs – followed by their docile Dutch colleagues – had sworn off  spices from the East. Silly! Culinary art of the Middle East has been recorded in Babylonian texts dating from 1500 BCE and even so long ago herbs and spices were common ingredients. Compared to that ancient tradition European cuisine is still wet behind the ears! An example: Ghanum ma’a lubi with Baba gannudj.

Baba gannudj, ‘spoiled daddy’ is the name of an aubergine dip in the Middle East. Whoever that pampered gentleman was is wrapped in mystery. Fact is that among family Arabs prefer to call it Mutabbal (spiced): father does not like to be joked at. Formerly you had to make a real effort to spoil the master of the house with this treat. The aubergines should be placed onto a charcoal fire (preferably with pine apples in it) until the outside is crumpled black and the fruit has shrunken a great deal. This lends the baba  a smoked, lightly resinous taste. Excellent for the barbecue. Otherwise you have to put them for at least 40 minutes in a hot oven to get them quite done. Today there is still another method which you will find below.

  • Heat the butter in a casserole. Brown the meat on all sides. Add onion rings, sliced leek, bell pepper, garlic, spices and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Dilute the tomato puree in the water, pour into the casserole. Leave to simmer covered for at least an hour. Maybe halfway some more water should be added.
  • In between string and wash the beans. Cook in ample water for 10 minutes, then leave to simmer with the meat for a quarter of an hour. Sprinkle with finely chopped marjoram before serving. Serve with several salads for example a broad bean salad, cucumber salad or auberginedip.
  • Fast version. Use a pressure cooker. Follow instructions for browning as above but leave out the bell pepper. Cook the meat  with onion, garlic, spices, salt and 150 ml water for 20 minutes under highest pressure. Take away pressure, add bell pepper and tomato puree, diluted in 150 ml water and cook under highest pressure for another 3 minutes. Serve in a nice dish garnished with marjoram.


Garnish: Aubergine dip

Serves one:

  • Wash an unblemished aubergine (about 250 g), remove the stem. Prick the fruit several times with a fork and put it directly under a glowing grill until the peel starts to wrinkle all around.
  • Put it into a microwave dish, and cook until done at 750 Watt during 5 minutes. Take the pulp from the skin with two spoons. Blend in a liquidizer with 1 tsp crushed cumin, ½ tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, garlic to taste, 1 tbsp tahina, salt and maybe some water for the right ‘dip thickness’.
  • Serve onto a layer of very thin beefsteak tomato slices and fresh basil leaves. On top some oil and paprika or chopped bell pepper.

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