Moroccan Eggplant Jam
I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that by posting this recipe I feel like a preserver of culture in my own small way. I am excited about that but at the same time baffled at how such a precious delicacy was let slip away. This recipe was enjoyed at the time of my grandparents and great grandparents but no one seems to make it anymore. Many Moroccans of my generation have never had or heard of it. I feel like I’m bringing back a treasure lost and forgotten in time. Abandoned by most Moroccans, it has however been preserved by the Jewish community in Morocco. It is called confiture d’aubergines in French and murabba braniya in Arabic.
At first eggplant and jam didn’t quite click in my head. The two have actually never even met in my thoughts, let alone mingle or get along. I’m used to eating my eggplant either lemony or garlicky. I love my zaalouk and thought nothing else could compare or measure up to it anyway. A voice in my head kept urging me to give eggplant jam a chance and I’m so glad I did. I simply loved it. I am now officially in love with it. It’s a true delicacy that suitably tastes of another era. The eggplant is hardly recognizable when it’s cooked and all you get is this very smooth and silky paste that could have been pumpkin, quince or apricot.
If the eggplants are really small, you could keep them whole when making the jam. Enjoy this eggplant jam as a spread on bread or alongside chicken or kebabs. It will provide a nice contrast.
Eggplant Jam Recipe
Yields 1 cup
1 ¼ pounds eggplant, peeled and cubed
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Place the eggplants in a pot and cover them with water. Cover the pot with a lid and cook over medium heat until the eggplants are very soft, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Place the drained eggplants in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar and water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the water is evaporated and the eggplants mushy and dark, 35 to 45 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and ginger. Let cool.
Transfer the jam into a jar, cover and store in the refrigerator.