Lusine’s Eggplant Dip: The Power of a Refugee Woman

Eggplant pomegranate dip is a vegan mezzah/appetizer dish that I learned from a wonderful woman with the name of Lusine. 

Lusine is a Syrian Armenian woman who fled the ravaging war in Syria.  The full swing civil war pounded her neighborhood in Aleppo and forced her out along with her only son.  Adrift and displaced, Lusine headed to the land of her ancestors Armenia (aka known as Armenia), which she never lived in or visited before. 

I met Lusine through a women empowerment program in Yerevan, Armenia that aimed at Syrian refugees, in which I volunteered for three years.

On our first meeting, this grounded woman amazed me with her innate acumen, self-motivation, and unmatched resilience.  

Ostensibly, previous life calamities only made Lusine stronger.  She was a mother of a teenager, when her husband died and left her alone to raise her son and make a living. 

As a refugee in Armenia, she was juggling two jobs, one as a full time cook at a Lebanese restaurant in Yerevan (Armenia’s capital) and the other one as a small scale home-based caterer.

Lusine didn’t have a college degree and hasn’t been to a culinary school, yet she had the most powerful skills set— her kind demeanor, stamina, and her strong food passion. 

Thanks to her perseverance and ongoing self development,  Lusine was able to cook and cater for official dinners and high end parties. While she significanlty refined her techniques, her food remained authentic and simple, loaded with flavors and memories from her beloved Aleppo. 

If you find yourself in Armenia, make sure to order from Lusine her mouthwatering kibbeh, tantalizing apricot mabrusha, and her signature mezzah dishes.  Until that happen, have a taste of her unique recipe of eggplant dip which she calls Salatet batinghan or Eggplant salad.

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Recipe of Eggplant Dip (Salated Batingan)

Recipe Credit to Lusine Madarian

Serves 4-6 people

 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 big eggplant 
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped  
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander 
  • pinch of paprika 
  • pinch of cayenne, optional
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Pomegranate molasses
  • pomegranate seeds or chopped tomatoes for decoration (optional)

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Grill the eggplant over the stove’s flame until the skin tuns to ashes and the eggplant is noticeably soft. Remove the eggplant and discard, and mash thoroughly the eggplant flesh with a fork
  2. Add to the mashed eggplant, the finely chopped clove of garlic, onions, olive oil, pomegranate molasses and season to your liking with salt and pepper. 
  3. Decorate with pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. 
  4. Serve cold with pita chips or crackers. 

 

 

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Former diplomat | Travel & Food Writer | Stauch advocate of Culinary Diplomacy. Find more here: https://cheznermine.com/about/

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