In Morocco, you can find a lot of wonderful food products. Flavorful vegetables, sweet fruits, and delicious olives. The famous argan oil is exclusively produced in Morocco. Cheese, however, is not a common product. Besides various imported cheeses and industrial products, there is only one typical Moroccan cheese: Moroccan cottage cheese or jben beldi. The cottage cheese is very creamy in texture and slightly sour. Moroccan cottage cheese is spread on bread, harcha, and so on and can be the filling of briouat (Moroccan pastries). As I try to cook mainly with local products, I also create savory dishes with jben beldi from time to time. Recently, I made this delicious spinach cannelloni, for instance. In today’s recipe, I turned the Moroccan cottage cheese into a tasty filling for eggplant roll-ups.
Jben beldi becomes very creamy almost liquid, when hot, so I added some breadcrumbs, an egg, and some grated cheese. I seasoned the filling with dried dill, salt, pepper, and a garlic clove. The eggplant roll-ups are cooked in the oven on a tomato sauce made of fresh tomatoes. During baking, the filling becomes nice and fluffy.
Eggplant roll-ups can be enjoyed as a starter warm or cold. In combination with fresh bread or rice and a salad, they make a delicious light meal!
for the filling:
- 250g Moroccan cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried dill (“aneth”, available in well-sorted supermarkets)
- 50g grated cheese
- 1 clove of garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
for the tomato sauce:
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1-2 spring onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 medium-size tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 120ml of water
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- a pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley and coriander
- 3-4 medium-sized eggplants
- olive oil to fry the eggplant
- Cut off the edges of the eggplants and cut them lengthwise into thin slices. In many eggplant recipes, you can read, that the eggplants should be salted before they can be used. This is only necessary when your eggplants are very bitter. The industrially produced eggplants from the markets and supermarkets often don’t have this bitterness and can be used directly.
- Next, heat some olive oil in a skillet and place the eggplant slices into it. To get soft eggplants, cover the skillet with a lid. Flip the slices when done from one site and keep frying them until golden from both sides. Fry all the slices the same way and set them aside.
- While the eggplants are frying, prepare the filling. Therefore, put the Moroccan cottage cheese into a bowl. Grate the peeled garlic clove into it and add all the other ingredients for the filling. Mix everything with a tablespoon until well combined.
- For the tomato sauce, slice the spring onions finely and chop the garlic cloves. Also, peel the tomatoes with a sharp knife and dice them. Then, heat the olive oil in an oven-proof pan. Sauté the spring onions and the garlic in the oil and subsequently, add the tomatoes. Put the onion and tomato mixture on one side of the pan and roast the tomato paste for a few seconds on an empty spot in the pan. Then, mix everything and add the water. Let the sauce cook for about 8 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Afterward, mash the sauce with a masher and season it with salt, pepper, paprika powder, sugar, and finely chopped parsley and coriander. Let the sauce cook for another minute and finally, turn off the heat.
- Before you start filling the eggplant slices, preheat the oven to 200°C /400°F. Now it’s time to fill the eggplants. Put about 1 teaspoon of the filling on the bottom of a slice and then, roll it up. Fill all the eggplant slices.
- Now, place the eggplant roll-ups seam side down on the sauce and put the pan into the oven. Let the eggplant roll-ups bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese filling is cooked.