Bademjan Kabab (Persian Stuffed Eggplant) from Cooking and Cooking
Yield: Serves 5

For stuffing: In a small frying pan heat 2 tablespoons canola oil. Add ground walnuts, garlic, dried parsley, dried basil and dried coriander; fry for 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons pomegranate paste, salt and pepper; combine well and fry for 2 more minutes. Set the stuffing aside.

For pomegranate sauce: Place sugar, 1/2 cup water and 1/3 cup pomegranate paste in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar melts. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pomegranate sauce for serving.

Wash and peel the eggplants, keep the stems (do not cut off the stems from the eggplants). To eliminate the bitter flavour from eggplants, sprinkle with salt and let them sit for 20 minutes. Then rinse to remove the salt and pat dry.

Slit the eggplants lengthwise, almost all the way down to the stem. Scoop out a little of interior flesh of the eggplants.

Heat 5-6 tablespoons canola oil in a non-stick pot over medium heat. Place eggplants in the pot and fry all sides until they're lightly browned all over and a little tender but still firm, about 30-40 minutes.

Remove from the pot and place them on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. Let cool slightly. Then spoon the stuffing into the eggplants.

Lightly spray bottom of the pot with cooking spray. Place the stuffed eggplants in the pot and spoon remaining pomegranate sauce over each one.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until completely cooked through, about 60-90 minutes (depending on the size of your eggplants). Add more water during cooking if necessary (I added 1/4 cup water).

Transfer to a serving dish and serve with reserved pomegranate sauce on the side. Serve immediately.