If like me, you’re a bit of a pickle fanatic, you will adore makdous. Baby aubergines stuffed with a mixture of walnuts, chilli, pepper and garlic, pickled in vinegar until tangy and then submerged in olive oil until tender – my sister and I were recently wowed by these at Arabica restaurant and left me wanting to preserve my very own stash. As with all the most rewarding things to eat, these do take a while to make, especially if you are in search of Maximum Pickle Intensity. Having said that, they are pretty straightforward to prepare (I got my baby aubergines from Sainsbury’s online, so no need to panic if you don’t live anywhere ethnically rich).
We ate these with feta, olives, tomato salad, flat breads and smoked taramasalata, but they are also very good eaten in the Levantine fashion – mashed and stuffed into hot pitta bread for breakfast.
10 baby aubergines
300ml cider vinegar
2-3 tsp. sea salt
1-2 handfuls of of walnuts
2-3 jarred red peppers
2-3 cloves garlic
chilli flakes to taste
some roughly chopped parsley
– wash and de-stalk your aubergines. Place in a pan of boiling water for about 15-20 minutes until very soft. Drain and cool.
– split the cooled aubergines and sprinkle with salt. Cover with vinegar (top up with water if you don’t have enough vinegar to cover completely) and leave somewhere airtight for a couple of days.
– take your jarred red peppers, walnuts, chilli, garlic and salt and blitz to a rough paste.
– drain the aubergine and stuff with the walnut mixture.
Submerge the stuffed aubergines in olive oil and leave somewhere cool for about 3 weeks.