Eggplant Pilaf With Pine Nuts and Cumin

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins

A great recipe using eggplant and spices. Adapted from Gourmet magazine. A Russian recipe! The ingredients are also typically African/Middle Eastern.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cover the eggplant with water in a bowl and add about 1 1/2 tablespoons salt. Soak 30 minutes. Drain eggplant and squeeze by handfuls to remove excess moisture, then pat dry.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking, and sauté eggplant, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Cool eggplant.
  3. Cook onions in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Add rice and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, raisins, remaining 1/2 tablespoon salt, cumin and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered and undisturbed, until rice is tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. Fluff rice with a fork and gently stir in tomato and eggplant. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Uncover and cool 10 minutes. Stir in dill, then transfer pilaf to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with pine nuts(or pistachios).
  5. The pilaf can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat in the microwave.
  6. Makes 6 servings.
Most Helpful

I am so in love with this recipe. I made it three years ago and was recently dreaming about it. I tried to find the recipe and passed over it a few times because there were no pictures, but the flavors were so memorable that I knew it was the one when I started reading it. I have made it exactly as described, except once with brown rice, and it has been wonderful both times. I am disappointed that the other reviewers changed it so much, because the specific flavors go together so well (using almonds instead of pine nuts will not have the same result, and the flavor of butter or canned tomatoes could easily overpower the other delicate flavors). I am happy to be reunited with this recipe and will make sure I don't lose it again!

Valerie K. August 19, 2015

This is good. I used sea salt t taste, sweet butter (unsalted) instead of olive oil, I rinsed and soaked my Indian white Basmati rice, I used homemade chicken broth instead of water in the amount I usually use to cook rice, yellow raisins, a good canned tomato which I added to the rice while cooking, I did not chop the pine nuts and lightly toasted them in a dry pan. Served with Kiftah (Palestine, Middle East), and Salata Tahini--Middle Eastern Tahini Salad for a very tasty meal. Made for "I've saved all these recipes!" March Diabetic Tag%u200F.

UmmBinat March 16, 2012

Most excellent. OK, I made a few dill (I detest the stuff), I used slivered almonds (because I had them) and I used a large apple in place of the tomato and added the missing cumin (1 tsp, also upped the cinnamon to 1 tsp). It was wonderful, with the changes, and made a lunch of left overs really special. I did use an extra 1/4 cup of water and only used the first 2 TBSP of oil as I didn't pre-cook the onions but just added them with the rice. Sharon, you just keep giving us winners, many thanks.

Annacia January 05, 2007