Eggplant Kuku (Persian Frittata)

December 4, 2018 Updated: December 4, 2018

This Persian take on a frittata is packed with bites of creamy sauteed eggplant and a bundle of fresh, green herbs. A kuku is rarely out of place on an Iranian-Jewish table. It is usually served as part of the mezze spread or as a side dish, but it is hearty enough to stand alone as a main course, particularly at vegetarian meals. It can often be found at a festive Purim meal, in commemoration of the biblical story of Esther, which took place in ancient Persia. And thanks to the generous amount of oil that goes into a kuku, it is also a favorite dish for Hanukkah celebrations.

Serves 6

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 medium onions, halved through the root and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 ounces feta, finely crumbled (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and brush a 9inch springform or regular round cake pan with oil. Line the pan with parchment paper (use scissors to cut out a circle of parchment for the bottom and a long strip to wrap around the sides), then brush the parchment lightly with oil.

Heat the 1/3 cup oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with a little salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the eggplant and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder, parsley, oregano, garlic, turmeric, onion powder, red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl. Gently fold in the eggplant mixture and feta (if using). Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently remove from the pan, peel off the parchment, and slice into wedges or squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from “Little Book of Jewish Feasts” by Leah Koenig. Published by Chronicle Books, 2018.

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