Georgian Walnut Stuffed Eggplant Rolls

(Badrijani Nigvzit)

This delightful appetizer was one that I first encountered on a journey to the country of Georgia. It was such a delicious surprise --both in taste, with the tang of fenugreek, and in texture, with the crunch of walnuts -- that my wife and I ordered it at nearly every meal. Do give it a try. It is a dish you will want to return to again and again.

Georgian Walnut Stuffed Eggplant Rolls (Badrijani Nigvzit) Recipe

(Makes About 6-8 Rolls)

Ingredients

  • 3 Italian Eggplants 

  • Kosher Salt (To Taste)

  • Canola Oil for Frying

  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 6 Tablespoons Water

  • 1 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander

  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Fenugreek 

  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper 
  • Seeds of 1 Pomegranate (Optional, For Garnish)

Instructions

  1. Wash and cut the tops off the eggplants. Do not peel. Cut lengthwise into ¼ inch-thick slices.

  2. Sprinkle the slices generously with salt and let stand at least 30 minutes.

  3. Rinse the eggplant in a colander, pressing out any bitter juice. Pat dry.

  4. Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium heat.

  5. Brown eggplant slices on both sides. 

  6. When both sides have turned a deep golden brown, remove fried slices to a plate lined with paper towels. Continue until all slices are fried and set them aside to cool. 

  7. In a food processor, grind walnuts to the consistency of coarse sand. Empty them into a medium bowl.

  8. Grind garlic in the food processor with water until a white liquid forms. Add to ground walnuts and stir to combine.

  9. Add red wine vinegar, coriander, fenugreek, cayenne, and salt to garlic-walnut paste. Stir to combine.

  10. Adjust seasoning to taste. 

  11. Spread a generous layer of filling on one side of each eggplant strip. For longer strips (from the center of the eggplant), fold in half crosswise (enclosing the filling) and then in half again to form a square pocket. For shorter strips, fold the top and bottom ends in toward the middle, layering one end on top of the other.

  12. Arrange the pockets on a platter and sprinkle them with pomegranate seeds (optional, or alternatively, fresh parsley leaves of cilantro leaves) to serve.

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