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Mirza Ghasemi

Mirza ghasemi is a charred eggplant dip with stewed tomatoes and garlic, often featured on a platter or mezze with sangak. Like Moroccan zaalouk, you will love the rich, smoky flavor of the eggplants, charred to perfection over an open flame and simmered in a tomato-spiced sauce with silky eggs.

Mirza Ghasemi in a serving dish.

What is Mirza Ghasemi?

The flavorful dish hails from the Caspian coastal regions of northern Iran. It’s a simple recipe of fire-roasted eggplant, tomato, garlic, warm spices, and eggs. Mirza Ghasemi makes a delicious appetizerside dish, or light meal. Plus, it’s great for entertaining, so you can serve it for different holidays and get-togethers.

What is Mirza Ghasemi Made of?

  • Eggplant: Grilling or roasting the eggplants (also called aubergines) transforms the texture and gives the dish its signature smoky flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Saute the aromatics in extra-virgin olive oil and use a good drizzle of oil to finish the meal. 
  • Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes are the base for eggplant salad. I like using vine-ripe or Roma tomatoes. You can also use canned diced tomatoes if you’re in a hurry.
  • Tomato Paste: Adding a spoonful of tomato paste intensifies the tomato flavor and deepens the color of the dish.
  • Garlic: I suggest using a whopping ten fresh garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Spices: Traditionally season the eggplant with salt, black pepper, and ground turmeric.
  • Egg: Every household has its own way of preparing mirza ghasemi. Some break the eggs and scramble them into the eggplant and tomato mixture, whereas others fry the eggs separately and use them as a topping. I prefer frying the eggs over easy or medium and topping the dish with a nice, runny egg. 

Additions and Substitutions

  • Flavor the roasted eggplant dish with fresh lemon juice. 
  • Leave out the eggs for a light vegan or vegetarian meal.
  • Grill the tomatoes with the eggplants for a more robust, smoky flavor.
  • Top the dip with fresh herbs like parsley, mint, or dill, and you can finish it with toasted walnuts.

Different Ways to Cook Eggplant

Grill

Step 1: Adjust the burners to high heat for 10 minutes to preheat the grill. Pierce the eggplants with a fork so the steam can escape when cooking, and push a skewer through the whole eggplant.

Eggplants grilling on the grill.

Step 2: Lower to medium-high heat and arrange the eggplants over the grill. Cook until charred on the outside and soft on the inside, for about 15-25 minutes, giving them a quarter turn every 5 minutes.

Eggplants grilling on the grill.

Stove Burner

  1. Set your stove burner to a medium-high flame. Pierce the eggplants with a fork so the steam can escape when cooking, and push a skewer through the eggplants.
  2. Cook the eggplant until the skin chars and the eggplants have softened, for about 15-20 minutes.

Tip: Before starting, wrap the base of the burner with foil for easy cleanup.

Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Then, prepare the eggplants by peeling the skin and cutting them into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place the eggplant onto it. Bake for 20 minutes.

How to Make Mirza Ghasemi

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Transfer the eggplants to a plate or bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Steam for 5 minutes. Then, carefully peel the charred skin.

Eggplants in a dish with plastic wrap.

Step 2: While the eggplants are steaming, warm the olive oil in a saute pan. Then, add the tomato paste and garlic. Saute for 1 minute over low-medium heat.

Garlic and tomato paste in a pan.

Step 3: Add the tomatoes and saute for 10-15 minutes.

Step 4: Meanwhile, peel the skin.

Eggplant peeled on a cutting board.

Step 5: Chop the eggplant into small pieces.

Eggplant chopped on a cutting board.

Step 6: Transfer the chopped eggplant to the saute pan. Season with salt, pepper, and turmeric, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Eggplant cooking in the pan with tomatoes and spices.

Step 7: Whip the eggs in a small bowl and add the beaten eggs to the eggplant mixture to combine, or you can fry the eggs in a separate pan and serve them over the top.

Eggs added to the cooking eggplant in a pan.

Step 8: Transfer the dish to a serving bowl, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and garnish with freshly chopped parsley to serve.

Mirza Ghasemi in a serving dish.

Expert Tips

  • Use a charcoal grill, open flame, gas burner, or gas grill for the best smoky taste on the eggplants.
  • Cook the eggplant over a medium-high flame. Otherwise, the skin will burn, but the inside will be firm and raw.
  • Once the eggplants cook over, let them steam before peeling off the charred skin (they will come right off). And be sure to remove all of the charred skin so the dish tastes nice and smoky, not burnt.
  • Once you add the eggplant to the saute pan, you can use an immersion blender to process the eggplants and tomatoes more if you prefer a smoother consistency.

If you enjoy this appetizer, try one of these Mediterranean recipes!  

Mirza Ghasemi in a serving dish.

Serving Suggestions

Mirza ghasemi is often served as an appetizer or dip as part of a mezze table or platter alongside Persian flatbread like barbari bread or sangak. You can pair it with crackers, pita bread, lavash, or pita chips. Make it a main dish and complete the meal with Shirazi salad, malfouf salad, savory tahdig, saffron rice, or basmati rice.

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • Freeze: Let the dish cool and transfer it to a freezer-safe bag or container. Mirza ghasemi freezes for two months, though the texture will change once frozen.
  • Thaw: Defrost the leftovers in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat: Warm the dip on the stovetop and enjoy!
  • Replace: Use it as a spread for toast or serve it on a sandwich, pita, or wrap.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of eggplants should I use?

Ghojeh bademjan is the most common variety of eggplant to make the dish. It is a smaller, slender variety of eggplant with thin skin, which cooks quickly. You can also use Japanese or Italian eggplants if that is all you can find, but adjust the cooking time depending on the size.

Can I make mirza ghasemi without smoked eggplants?

The most traditional preparation for the dish is to char or smoke the eggplant, but the process can be a bit messy. You can roast the eggplants in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Peel the eggplants and cut them into small pieces. Arrange the eggplant onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

More Eggplant Recipes:

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Mirza Ghasemi in a serving dish.

Mirza Ghasemi

Tressa Jamil
Serve mirza ghasemi with savory sangak. You will love the rich, smoky flavor of the eggplants simmered in a tomato-spiced sauce with silky eggs.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dip, Side Dish
Cuisine Persian
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 129 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 4 medium eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 large tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons parsley or mint, finely chopped, for garnish
Instructions
 
  • Adjust the burners to high heat for 10 minutes to preheat the grill. Pierce the eggplants with a fork so the steam can escape when cooking, and push a skewer through the whole eggplant.
  • Lower to medium-high heat and arrange the eggplants over the grill. Cook until charred on the outside and soft on the inside, for about 15-25 minutes, giving them a quarter turn every 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the eggplants to a plate or bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Steam for 5 minutes. Then, carefully peel the charred skin.
  • While the eggplants are steaming, warm the olive oil in a saute pan. Then, add the tomato paste and garlic. Saute for 1 minute over low-medium heat.
  • Add the tomatoes and saute for 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel the skin and chop the flesh into small pieces. Transfer the chopped eggplant to the saute pan. Season with salt, pepper, and turmeric, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Whip the eggs in a small bowl and add the beaten eggs to the eggplant mixture to combine, or you can fry the eggs in a separate pan and serve them over the top.
  • Transfer the dish to a serving bowl, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and garnish with freshly chopped parsley to serve.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Use a charcoal grill, open flame, gas burner, or gas grill for the best smoky taste on the eggplants.
  • Cook the eggplant over a medium-high flame. Otherwise, the skin will burn, but the inside will be firm and raw.
  • Once the eggplants cook over, let them steam before peeling off the charred skin (they will come right off). And be sure to remove all of the charred skin so the dish tastes nice and smoky, not burnt.
  • Once you add the eggplant to the saute pan, you can use an immersion blender to process the eggplants and tomatoes more if you prefer a smoother consistency.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 129 kcal | Carbohydrates: 15 g | Protein: 5 g | Fat: 7 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g | Trans Fat: 0.01 g | Cholesterol: 62 mg | Sodium: 462 mg | Potassium: 661 mg | Fiber: 6 g | Sugar: 9 g | Vitamin A: 966 IU | Vitamin C: 18 mg | Calcium: 41 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating