Sheikh el Mehchi is a delicious Lebanese main dish served with cooked rice. Sometimes we add stuffed zucchini, and we call it Ablama. It’s a very traditional dish and it requires some preparation, but the result is amazing. My family loves this dish; it’s so delicious and moreish. Follow the instructions step by step and check the photos.

Ingredients

Servings: 6-8 people

Time to prepare: 1 hour/Time in the oven: 40-45 minutes

- 1 kg eggplant (2-3 round and big eggplants) (Peeled and cut vertically into 4-6 pieces each)
- 1 kg zucchini, small size (stemmed and carved)
- ½ liter vegetable oil (to fry the eggplant and zucchini)
- 500 grams minced beef
- 2 big onions, peeled and finely diced
- 3-4 tbsp. pine nuts
- 3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil (I use canola) to cook the onions and beef
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 red tomatoes, thinly sliced (for the top)

For the tomato sauce

- 500 grams diced tomatoes (I use cans)
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar (to balance the taste)
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 2-3 rosemary sprigs


Method

  1. Put the oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplants (some pieces at a time).
  2. Put the fried eggplant on kitchen paper to absorb all the oil (Better kept overnight)
  3. Put 3-4 tbsp. of oil in a deep frying pan and add the diced onions and ½ tsp salt.
  4. Cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent and soft.
  5. Move the cooked onions on the side of the pan and add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown.
  6. Mix the onions and pine nuts and add the minced beef.
  7. Break the minced beef into small chunks using a wooden spoon and cook well.
  8. Add the remaining ½ tsp of salt, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper.
  9. Keep stirring the meat until well done.
  10. Use half of the cooked minced beef to stuff the zucchini, then fry the zucchini from all sides in the same oil you used to fry the eggplant.
  11. Arrange the stuffed zucchini and fried eggplant in a deep oven pan.
  12. Make a slit in the middle of each fried eggplant and stuff it with the remaining cooked minced beef.
  13. Add the sliced tomatoes on top. 

Tomato Sauce:

  1. Empty the tomatoes cans in a pot and add 1 full can of water.
  2. Add tomato paste, salt, sugar, black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and rosemary sprigs.
  3. Mix well and put on the heat until it starts boiling.
  4. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce over the eggplant and zucchini.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven on 200° C for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Serve it with cooked white rice, fresh mint, and radishes.