this casserole is by far the most popular casserole in iraq, and here are my notes: 1-we either use ground beef or bulgur kibbeh in this casserole which are both tasty 2-you have the option of just frying the eggplant and leave other ingredient raw. 3-we make this casserole in a round casserole dish (made of aluminum or metal), arrange the onion rings, then we fry the eggplant rounds and put them in the casserole dish as they set, then we put the potato slices(fried or raw) then the tomato rounds. 4-sometimes we put 1 green bell pepper strips between the layers for flavor which goes really well with the casserole. 5-you also have the option of putting the dish on the stove to cook it and not in the oven, which most of us here in iraq do. 6-you also have the option of eating it with iraqi bread or pita bread instead of rice. i hope everyone would make this casserole cause it's really delicious and hearty
Since I now have an Iraqi roommate, I made this dish last night. I fried all the main ingredients to provide equal consistency. In case you're wondering, you use a pound of ground beef and bake at 350 degrees in the oven. 45 minutes was fine for cooking time. The 20 minutes prep time was a myth if you cut and fry all those ingredients. Of course you could use two frying pans but that uses a lot of oil. Instead of using tomato paste and then adding water, I just used a prepared tomato sauce with garlic and basil in it. Though my roommate prefers everything his mother cooks, it made my day when he smiled after his first bite and said, "delicious!" I served it over basmati rice but he also scooped with Iraqi bread.
Four stars how I changed it. I'm writing this review a bit late so I think I added some allspice to the meat. I know it's not traditional but I used zucchini instead of eggplants because of an allergy, and a canola-olive oil combo in replacement of the corn oil to be corn free. I left out the potatoes because when I opened my new bag they were yucky! I found I had to keep turning the meatballs near the end a lot or they would have burnt as they were not immersed in the sauce. This would be good served over basmati rice cooked in chicken stock. I would make it again as stated but with potatoes.