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Bites Fil Beit: Mesaka'a
Published in Daily News Egypt on 27 - 06 - 2012

* 1 kg eggplant, peeled and sliced – be-ten-gan
* 1⁄2 kg minced meat – lah-ma maf-room-a
* 1 tsp garlic crushed – toom
* 2-3 tbsp tomato paste – sal-sa ta-ma-tem
* 4 tbsp corn oil – zeit do-ra
* 2 green peppers, medium size – fil-fil akh-dar
* 2 onions, medium size, finely chopped – ba-sal
* 4 tomatoes – ta-ma-tam
* Oil for frying – zeit
* Salt and pepper – malh and fil-fil
Preparing the meat:
In a medium pan, heat 2 tbsp of corn oil over medium heat. Stir in one chopped onion until glassy and turning yellow. Add minced meat, salt and pepper and stir until it starts browning. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Preparing the tomato sauce:
Slice 2 medium tomatoes in medium think slices. Chop the other two tomatoes and blend in a blender with 1/4 cup water. In a small saucepan, heat 2 tbsp corn oil over medium heat. Add the other chopped onion and the garlic. Fry until golden while stirring continuously. Add blended tomatoes, 1/2 cup water and salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
After cooking the tomato sauce for about 15 minutes start preparing the mesaka'a:
Cut one green pepper into squares and slice the other into thin slices. Fry the green pepper cut in squares in oil until medium soft and set aside. Fry the slices of eggplant slices in oil until just golden, make sure they do not get to brown. Place the slices on paper towels to remove the excess of oil.
Heat the oven to medium-high heat, 200 C.
Arrange a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom of a shallow baking dish and cover this with a layer of the cooked green pepper. Pour the cooked minced meat on top and make sure it covers the two layers underneath properly. Add one more layer of eggplant on top of the meat. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant. Arrange the uncooked tomato and green peppeslices on top of the tomato sauce.
Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve right away in the same dish.
* When cutting the eggplant, exclude the pieces that contain a lot of seeds; they will taste bitter when cooked. Place the peeled and sliced eggplant in a large bowl with salted water so it doesn't turn brown. Pat the slices dry before frying.
* If you love potatoes you can add a layer of uncooked potato slices to the dish.

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