Apr 22, 2009


A while back, when I had shared with you the methods of making home made labneh balls, I promised to also one day (and the day has now come!) write up a post on magdous. Now what on earth is magdous?
Trust me, whenever I pronounce the word "magdous", people give me that famous inquisitive curious look, you know the one with an eyebrow that's lifted a bit higher then the other (something I don't know how to do, even after practice looking in front of the mirror). When I show them magdous, the reaction is even more comical (for me at least)..."ummm... what are those dodgy looking things of an unidentified colour of a rather oval shape swimming in those jars?... you really expect me to try that?".
Yes people, unfortunately, magdous for those who are not familiar with this speciality, does not score well when it comes to first impressions. Visually at least. But taste wise, all judgements dissapear and plates are emptied in minutes. My point is that you really have to give magdous a chance before you prematurely decide to not give it even second thoughts. So the choice is yours now, you can either continue reading this post, or surf to another page...
OK, so I guess you are still here and curious to find out a bit more. Let me make an introduction: magdous is a quite common food speciality found accross the Middle East. It hasn't of course become as famous as some other specialties such as hummus or falafels, and I doubt you'll easily find it on the menu of a Middle Eastern restaurant. Magdous are basically baby eggplants, that have been drained and then stuffed with a delicious mixture of garlic, hot pepper, diced red peppers and walnuts (at least, that is the recipe in my family). It can be consumed in the same way pickles or olives are, or if you just fancy on nibbling on a little something, it is delicious on it's own with pita bread and a cup of black tea.
Of course, in the Middle East, it is easy to buy ready made magdous, but I've always enjoyed making it myself- as my grandmother and mother always have. For this, you need to be armed with patience, because its one of those "leave overnight" and "wait for a few days before consumption" recipes- but I think the wait is really worth it!
What I love most about magdous is the silky texture the eggplant develops, the delicious olive oil fragrance it becomes infused with, but most of all, it's crunchy and spicy interiour. With a small glass cup of black tea and soft pita bread, each bite reminds me of my childhood when I used to go visit my grandma, sitting on her balcony in the early evenings, watching people on the streets go by against a backdrop of an orange-ish blue sky, while being surrounded with pots of jasmine flowers hanging around the balcony that so beautifully perfumed the setting and accompanied my grandma's tender voice and the magdous' silky texture. It's one of those foods that have never been considered as lavish or fancy in the Middle East, but sometimes the most basic simplest things are what satisfy a hungry stomach in unforgettable ways.
Recipe for home made magdous (for 8 baby eggplants)
Baby eggplants
Olive oil (lots of it)
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup chopped red pepper
Chilli (quantity according to personal preference)
Cut off the stem of the eggplants, but keep the hat on. Boil in salted water for about 10 minutes. Remove, slice lengthwise, but not all the way through, it has to form a "pocket" that will hold in the garnish. Sprinkle insides with salt, close the eggplant "pockets" and layer eggplants gently in a large strainer, place a dish on top, and a bowl on the bottom. The eggplants will need to drain out their water overnight, so the water that will drip can fall into the bowl underneath.
The next day, in a bowl, mix the chopped walnuts, red pepper, garlic and chilli pepper. Peel the hat of the eggplants off with the sharp edge of a small knife. Stuff each eggplant with this mixture and close back gently. Be careful as to not rip the eggplants, they will have a very delicate texture at this point. Layer the stuffed eggplants in a clean and dry jar and cover with olive oil. Leave to rest for at least 3 days- ideally 1 week. When ready to be consumed, remove the magdous with a large spoon (not a fork, they will crumble!) and enjoy with pita bread! The jars do not need to be conserved in a fridge.


Peter M said...

You had me with eggplant...so you pickle them with all these ingredients? No doubt delicious...more appetizer/meze ideas!

Peter G said...

I agree with Peter...you also had me at eggplants. I've never heard of these Marianna and now I'm keen to try!

Marta said...

Mariana this looks so great! I've had the Lebanese and the Persian cousins of this and adored them both!! Where is this recipe from? I just love eggplants so much, I like how creamy and smooth they are once cooked. Thank goodness I have some roasted eggplant for lunch, otherwise I'd lick the screen!
I've quietly followed your blog for a while and I have to say I really love it. I tried your chocolate, cardamom and date cake and adored it!

Marianna said...

Marta> thankyou so much for your lovely comment! This recipe is the one that runs through my family... and Im very happy you enjoyed the chocolate cardamom & date cake!!!

Nina Timm said...

Although silky in texture, I can imagine the taste quite intense!!! I do not know this at all!!!

Maria said...

They don't look at all strange to me!! It sounds like a great combination of flavors and it is definitely a dish that gets better with time.


ahhh i love this. it must be so buttery and smooth when it's done.


PHOTOG said...

I love your blog - some many new recipes to try!

Arlette said...

Marhaba Marianna,
very nice job on the Makdous , and the photos looks very pretty..
this is one of my favourit snakes, by itself on a pita...

I did post the eggplant jams/candy, and forgot to post my moms makdous recipe, the famous Baalback and Ras Baalback Makdous, they are famous about the Makdous in Olive Oil and Walnuts.

p.s.: Marianna, I want to invite you to join the Walima Cooking Club, for all Middle Eastern Cooks.
hope to hear from you

Laura said...

Oh, I would love to be able to find baby eggplant nearby! I live extremely rural and the only ones that I can find are large and usually not very fresh by the time they reach the local stores. These look wonderful.

Arlette said...

Hello Marianna again

We have two blogs for Walima
Walima Cooking CLub is a private blog for members only, and
www.walimaarabia.blogspot.com is for the public...
our second challenge for June is Representing the Bahraini Cuisine.

Arlette said...

Kindly send me an email at
so I can email you back the invitation and the access to Walima blogs and Forum.

Sorry for my late reply...
My appology.

Yasmine said...

Hi Marianna,

Thanks a lot for the recipes. I love your blog. I've always wanted to make makdous, it reminds me of home too.

Thanks! :)

kathryn said...

I've just been talking about preserved eggplants with some people on Twitter and one of them pointed me to your recipe. This is gorgeous Marianna. I've never heard of them before, but love the idea - particularly with the walnuts.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

These sound great! Very tasty even if they're ugly.

Laura said...

ha!! It took me a while to find this blog post again, but find it, I did! We finally got a good store a few towns over that gets these in. I've just got to try this.