Almost Turkish Recipes

Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses (Mualle)

Here's another delicious certified Turkish eggplant recipe. I had mualle first in İstanbul at Çiya Restaurant. The owner and chef of Çiya, Musa Dağdeviren, is not only a great chef but also a passionate researcher of forgotten Anatolian recipes. He has traveled all around Anatolia and collected almost 4 thousand local recipes. That's why Çiya's menu changes daily. One of those 4 thousand recipes, Mualle, is a summer stew from Antakya. Mualle that I had at Çiya was so good that I got very excited when I found Dağdeviren's recipe in Food & Wine. Try this recipe before the last eggplants of the season start to disappear from farmers markets.

3-4 long narrow eggplants, peeled in lengthwise stripes
1/2 cup green lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 banana peppers or any long thin green chilies, seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped or 2 tbsp dry mint
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (you can find pm easily at Middle Eastern markets)

-Peel the eggplant partially and leave lengthwise stripes of skin. Cut them into 4 lengthwise. Chop every piece crosswise into 3. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let them stand for an hour.
-Bring green lentils to a boil with 2 cups of water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are soft.
-In a bowl mix tomatoes, green chilies, onion, garlic, mint, salt, crushed peppers, and tomato paste.
-Coat a small cast-iron casserole with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Put 1/2 cup of veggie mix on bottom. Cover with half of the eggplant, then half of the lentils, and half of the remaining veggie mix. Top first with remaining eggplant, then with lentils, and then with veggie mix.
-Pour olive oil around the side. Sprinkle pomegranate molasses.
-Bring the stew to a boil. Then cover and turn it down to low and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Mualle is good with rice and yogurt.


  1. This looks really good! Is th pomegranate molasses necessary or would you consider it optional?

  2. I'm sure without pomegranate molasses this would still be a nice stew, but pomegranate adds a lot! to it. It's really easy to find, especially if there's a middle eastern or international market nearby.

  3. Anonymous3:34 PM

    mmmm what a delicious recipe!
    and lovely photos, esp the first one!

  4. A delicious-sounding vegetarian recipe -- perfect to bring to a potluck! I love the combination of eggplant and pomegranate molasses. If you can't find it, you can boil down some pomegranate juice (easy to find in the supermarket now that it's become so trendy) until it's reduced by 3/4.

  5. Anonymous4:49 PM

    I made this over the weekend, and it was fabulous! I thought I had some of the PM at the back of the cabinet, but had tossed it in the move a while ago. I almost decided to use tamarind extract instead (thinking just +/-1 tsp though diluted in H20), but geared myself up to run out to the Midle Eastern store to pick some new PM. I am really glad I did, as it definitely was the thing that gave it a special flavor.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Diane, I'm glad to hear that you liked it. I loved it, too. I think from now on this will be a regular recipe for me.

  7. Hi burcu,

    this a fabulous looking interesting recipes. i ve never heard of pomegranade mollases, sounds very yum. I am so curious to make this one very soon. Will let you know :)

  8. Burcu, this is the type of recipe I am happy to eat everyday! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  9. Anonymous10:22 AM

    I made this and it was pretty good! The only thing I might do differently is add more PM, perhaps because the kind I got was more sour and not very fruity...and for those who are wondering how it "boils" with no liquid in it, the copious amounts of oil and the moisture in the vegetables do the trick! I loved the combination of mint, pomegranate and tomato-greeny flavours.

    An observation - the recipe should note that the lentils must be drained after cooking (many lentil recipes, e.g. for dals, tell you to cook the lentils till they break down and become soupy).

  10. Anonymous6:47 AM

    I made this recently. It was wonderful - absolutely perfect! Thanks so much!

  11. I'm a long-time visitor to your hunger-inducing blog, but this is my first time to comment.

    I made this and it was really great; my 13-year-old loved it, too!

    I hope you don't mind, but I've posted my version of your recipe on my blog, and added Almost Turkish to my links.

    Keep up the great work!

  12. Süpermiş hiç yemedim bu yemeği ama hemen yapacağım ağzım sulandı. Paylaşım için teşekkürler ne de olsa artık şıp diye Çiya'ya gitme şansım yok sayenize burda benzerini yiyeceğim. sevgiler

  13. Anonymous7:25 AM

    Would larger Italian eggplants be suitable for this dish?

  14. Yes, definitely!

  15. made this dish last week, easy (I'm not a very accomplished cook) and delicious!!! i can't wait to make it again.

  16. Hi Burcu,
    I made this on Sunday after a trip to my local pazar here in Istanbul and it turned out great!
    I was a little skeptical because I'm not a huge fan of eggplant but it tasted great and didn't have any of that bitter eggplant flavor. My boyfriend thought it looked "gross" but loved it and wants me to make it again!
    Thanks for a great website. I've used a lot of your recipes and have enjoyed them all.

  17. Great recipe. Big fan of anything that is cooked at Ciya anyway! Followed it to the letter and got a delicious meal. I used smaller "italian" eggplants. They are not bitter like the big kind so they're perfect in mualle.

    thanks Burcu!

  18. charlotte9:39 PM

    hi Burcu,

    uc yil once istanbul'da yasayken senin blog'e rastgeldim... turk mutfak ile aska dustum ve bence tariflerin en guzel. amerikaya geri donmeden sonra senin yuzunden turk yemegi pisirmeye devam edebilirim... blog'de fikirlerin ve tavsiyen paylastigin icin cok tesekkur ederim.

    bir sey sorabilir miyin? after salting the eggplant for an hour in this mualle recipe, should they be rinsed?

    best, charlotte

  19. charlotte9:41 PM

    hi burcu,

    thanks so much for this great blog. i've been using it for years after living in istanbul for a while, and it's been so helpful in recreating the cuisine i miss so much.

    one question about this mualle - after the eggplants are salted should they be rinsed?

    thanks, charlottes

  20. Nadine10:11 PM

    I made this for tonight's dinner, we all loved it, even my 0 month old daughter was eating it with delight. Thank you for posting such a great recipe.miterie

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Dear ladies,
    sorry for being late to respond. The answer is yes, do rinse the eggplants and pat them dry.

  23. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Very nice recipe and very healthy one! I like your blog. You have a very nice selection of recipes!

  24. Is it possible too do this rexipe with less oil for a pancreas sensitive diet? Would it work with just a couple tablespoons of oil and then the rest water?

  25. Anonymous7:14 PM

    I made this tonite, only substituting canned cherry tomatoes for fresh, and adding garlic. It was delicious!! Tesekkur ederim Burcu for the blog. Since we won't be traveling back to Turkey anytime soon :(, this is the next best thing.