Eggplant Pkhali

Pkhali. Courtesy of Saami Somi

This recipe optimizes the last of the eggplant harvest — locally in season thru mid-autumn.

It comes to us from siblings Donna and Michael Kolodesh, owners of the newly opened Saami Somi, The food is authentically Georgian, a cuisine that reflects its unique position at the crossroads of many cultures. The food evokes Middle East, South Asian, East Asian, Eastern European and Slavic flavors — and also brings unique freshness.

See the Jewish Exponent print edition for a profile on this dynamic duo, as well as two more delicious pkhali recipes. These traditional dishes comprise chopped vegetables and herbs in a spiced walnut base, and are typically formed into balls and served as a cold salad or dip.

Eggplant Pkhali
Makes 1 pound or 10 small scoops of pkhali

⅔ cups toasted walnuts
1¼ tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon fenugreek
½ tablespoon ground coriander
½ tablespoon dried savory
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cold water
2 beets
1 large or 2-3 small eggplants
1 tablespoon neutral oil
Pomegranate seeds for garnish

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the stem from the eggplant, slice it in half and score it. Coat each half of the eggplant in oil and salt to taste.

Place the eggplants cut side up on a cooking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes until soft and cooked through. Remove the eggplants from the heat and let them cool.

Remove the flesh from the eggplant and discard the skin.

Combine the toasted walnuts, vinegar garlic, onion, parsley, cilantro, dill, fenugreek, coriander, dried savory, pepper and salt in a food processor. Add cold water and pulse until the ingredients form a thick paste. Add more cold water as necessary to loosen the paste and aid in the blending process.

Add the eggplant and pulse it until it Is fully integrated. Remove and refrigerate for at least an hour before consuming.

Form it into balls, garnish it with pomegranate seeds to taste and enjoy!


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