Romanieh (lentils and eggplants cooked in pomegranate sauce)

romanieh (Eggplant and lentils cooked in pomegranate sauce)
In January, I went back home to Jenin for a visit and the trip was bitter sweet. Just crossing the border makes my soul sing. I know this may sound crazy to some but to me, the earth there is different, the sky is different, the very air you breath is different.Simply put, I feel at home!
No matter where I am, my heart is always there..My grandmother used to say that we are just like the olive trees..our roots dig deep into this land..this is where we belong
hundreds of years old olive tree
500 year old olive tree
Yet, it is never easy to see your land, crippled by an occupation,  to see cities look old and tired,as if forgotten by time, to see people suffer with beat up economy, to wish you could pray in Jerusalem but never be granted the permission to do so.To face an ugly horrible wall that makes you feel you are walking in one big giant prison
Israeli wall in the west bank
Israeli wall in the west bank
Israeli wall
To take pictures of your grand parents’ home through a hole in the wall. The house is sad and empty. The trees carry fruits that no one can pick. The kids who once grew here are now old men and women scattered in a dozen countries, they don’t have the permission to live in their own home!
Old home
Palestinian home
One of the reasons why I started and then maintained this blog was to help spread easy and authentic Middle Eastern and particularly Palestinian recipes. At a time when everything Palestinian seems to be under attack. Our land, our food, our traditional cloths were stolen and now they are being marketed as Israeli. It makes my blood boil and  I feel like the least I can do is document our food identity,one post at a time, one recipe at a time.
I am here to tell as many people as I can that it is called Palestinian Maftoul not Israeli couscous, it is an Arabic salad not an Israeli salad, and the gazan dagga is a celebration of the amazing gazan people who can take the heat and rise from the ashes time after time.
Today,since I am sharing another traditional Palestinian recipe, I thought I would give you a glimpse of my trip back home. I’ll start with my visit to Nablus.
nablus city Nablus palestine
 Nablus was founded by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 72 CE as Flavia Neapolis. The city takes pride in its almost 2,000-year-long history and there is no better way to enjoy it than to take a walk down the old market.
Old market
 Whether you are shopping for souvenirs
Palestine- nablus
Or looking to enjoy some of the local food the market has to offer :pickled olives,  Nabulsi cheese , dried fruits or Nabulsi soap (sabon nabulsi) which  is a type of castile soap produced only in Nablus out of  virgin olive oil
Nablus market
 Araies (Pita bread stuffed with minced meat, herbs and spices then grilled to perfection)
 Pita bread
Korshaleh (Tea time crackers, usually dunked in tea)
tea crackers
 If you are shopping for traditional sweets, Nablus is the place to  go to!
sweets 2
Nablus sweets
 I loved watching this guy make koolaj, which are paper thin sheets of dough, something very similar to phylo. Koolaj is usually stuffed with nuts or cheese, it is then baked, then drizzled with a rosewater scented syrup. The outer layers of dough become crisp and crunchy while the inner layers absorb the syrup and take on the spices usually mixed with the filling. The result is simply irresistible!
kolaj and kataief
 Atayef cart! I have never seen atayef being sold on a cart!I usually I buy it from a bakery or  make it home
atayef cart
We ended the trip with praying in  Al hanbali mosque, this mosque has been in the old city since the 16th century, it is famous for the beautiful wood work and marble columns
hanbali mosque Al hanbali mosque Al hanbali
 Now back to the recipe 🙂
Palestinian Romania
Romanya is recipe mostly associated with the city of Jaffa.The recipe and the ingredients are pretty simple but the result is far from it. When you try this for the first time, you’ll  get  complex layers of flavor and texture that will have you reaching for spoonful after spoonful trying to decide what it is that you like so much about romanieh. Is it the creamy eggplant? the sweet and sour notes of the pomegranate molasses? the earthy nuttiness of the lentils?or is it simply the irresistable combination?


Recipe source: My friend Nisreen Rahhal

1 cup green lentils

7-9 cups of water

2 medium eggplants (peeled and cut into cubes  ‘see notes’)

1 cup sour pomegranate juice (or 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses+ juice of 2 lemons)

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

6 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon sumac

1 and 1/2 tablespoons flour

4-6 tablespoons olive oil


Add 7 cups of water, cumin and  and the lentils to a pot

Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer.

Cook until the lentils are almost done (the time will vary depending on the type of lentils you use)

If the lentils absorb most of the water add 1-2 cups of warm water

Add the eggplant and half of the minced garlic and cook until the cubes are soft and cooked through

Add the salt and sumac

In a small bowl, mix the flour, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice until homogenous

Add the lemon flour pomegranate mix to the eggplants and lentils and stir until the mix thickens

In a pan, saute the remaining minced garlic in the olive oil until the garlic turns golden

Pour the olive oil and garlic into the lentil and eggplant pot and stir

Take the pot off the heat and ladle into the serving plate while hot

Decorate with parsley and pomegranate seeds, you can eat romania with pita bread or using a spoon


You can keep the eggplant peel if you like, it will give a more intense eggplant taste and a deeper color to the end result. I usually peel one egg plant and leave the skin on the other

romanieh (Eggplant and lentils cooked in pomegranate sauce)

(وصفه الرمانيه (حبة رمان

كوب عدس بني،
حبتين باذنجان متوسطه الحجم مقشره و مقطعه مكعبات متوسطه الحجم،
عصير رمانه حامضه و في حال عدم توفر الرمان الحامض نستبدلها بملعقتين طعام من دبس الرمان مضاف لهم عصير ليمونتين،
ملعقه صغيره كمون،
ملح حسب الرغبه،
 سته اسنان توم مدقوق،
ملعقه كبيره سماق ،
شطه او فلفل حار حسب الرغبه و حسب الذوق ممكن الاستغناء عنها،
ملعقه كبيره و نصف طحين.
يغسل العدس و يسلق بكميه مناسبه من الماء،مع اضافه الكمون ،
عند اقتراب نضوجه يضاف مكعبات الباذنجان و نصف كميه الثوم المدقوق و يترك ليغلي قليلا حتى استواء الباذنجان،
نضيف الملح و الشطه و السماق يحرك المزيج
 يذاب الطحين جيدا في دبس الرمان المخلوط مع عصير الليمون، ثم يضاف الى العدس مع التحريك حتى يسمك القوام
في مقلاه مع قليل من زيت الزيتون نقلي كميه التوم المتبقية حتى يحمر و نضيفه فوق خليط العدس و نحرك قليلا ثم نطفي النار .
و يسكب في صحون وتؤكل الرمانية بارده مع الخبز او بالملعقه:)