Lis'an El Qa'thi - Judges' Tongue (Iraqi Stuffed Eggplant)

"Amazing recipe if you love Middle Eastern cooking like me. This dish is Iraqi (in my case, Iraqi-Israeli). It wouldn't surprise me if there was a Persian variant on this dish, because it combines stuffing vegetables with spiced ground meat, and simmering it deliciously in a tasty sauce. It can be served over any type of rice, and has a lot of juice/gravy that is just delicious. It is quite easy (though there are a few steps, none are difficult). This dish is kosher, but cannot be mixed with dairy products of course. It is a powerful and tasty dish, and I suggest that everyone try it. Warning - due to the appearance, I'm not sure how much little children (who are not Middle Eastern) would like it; though if they managed to try it, they would fall in LOVE. For the perfect compliment to this already amazingly rich dish, having hummus, tahina, and hot sauce (schug), and/or amba (an Iraqi pickled mango) - any middle eastern spread/dip. My mouth is watering just thinking about it all."
photo by Sephardi Kitchen photo by Sephardi Kitchen
photo by Sephardi Kitchen
photo by Mivashel photo by Mivashel
Ready In:
1hr 30mins
20 rolls


  • 2 eggplants (large, the longer the better)
  • 2 lbs ground meat (i prefer 1lb beef, 1lb lamb)
  • 2 onions (1 medium finely minced, 1 larger diced)
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tomatoes (large, firm)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (can)
  • 14 ounces beef (can) or 14 ounces chicken stock (can)
  • 12 cup lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • turmeric (or curry powder)
  • spices (any others you desire, I like CUMIN, CORIANDER, etc.)
  • oil (canola, vegetable, or olive)


  • peel the eggplant, trim off the top and bottom.
  • stand eggplant up, and cut LENGTHWISE into 1/8'' thin strips.
  • sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin.
  • heat a very thin layer of oil on a skillet and fry the eggplant slices in batches, turning once to brown on both sides - do NOT overcook (they will cook to perfection at a later stage) - remember to add a fresh (thin) layer of oil for every batch of eggplant fried - let the eggplant slices try on paper towel.
  • in a bowl: mix together the ground meats, the medium onion and garlic (both finely minced), spices to taste (don't overkill), and beaten egg.
  • form the ground meat mixture into cylinders (sausage like rods) 1'' thick and 2'' long.
  • place a portion of the meat stuffing at one enf othe eggplant slice, and WRAP the eggplant around it - place the rolls in a baking dish.
  • Slice up one tomato, and layer on top of eggplant/meat rolls.
  • In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and saute 1 large diced onion. When soft, add in 1 tomatoe (chopped), salt, pepper, tumeric/curry powder, and any other spices. Stir around until fragrant.
  • Add tomato paste, beef/chicken stock, and lemon juice - this is your sauce - bring to boil, then cover and let simmer/thicken for 15 minutes.
  • Once the sauce is thickened to your liking, pour it INTO the baking dish (it should cover all the rolls and reach near the top of the dish - this is good (more gravy/sauce for the rice, and ensures a nice even cooking of the meat).
  • cover with lid (or aluminum foil), and BAKE at 450 degrees for 1 hour (or until done; one hour is certainly enough).
  • take out and ENJOY an exotic taste that I am sure you will love; be proud of yourself, you made an authentic and wonderful Iraqi dish.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Sephardi Kitchen
    This was delicious! After creating the eggplant rolls, I decided to cut each one in half, so that they could stand upright and be of a more manageable size. After baking them at 350F for about 45 minutes (I wasn't sure if I trusted the 1 hour at 450F), they came out beautifully, and stayed rolled up on their own. I put parsley, mint, salt/pepper, cinnamon, allspice and a bit of pepper flakes/sugar in with the meat. The tomato sauce had lime juice, cumin, turmeric, bit of sugar, and garlic. The result was very tender, and goes GREAT in pita!
  2. WhirlyBirdH60
    I've made this recipe a few times over the past couple years and I love it each time! It's so unique and it's wonderful to ask for "assistance" from family members to bring not only dish together, but all of us closer together too! Thank you for posting!
  3. Lucky in Bayview
    I thought this meal was fantastic! DH wasn't as enthused. The sauce was a little caramelized from cooking at such a high temp and he didn't care for that flavor. I thought it gave the sauce a lot of depth.I seasoned the meat with a little cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne. Thanks for posting this delicious recipe.
  4. umisa
    delicious! this has become a favourite at our house! thanks!
  5. Sanya O.
    You must all be great cooks, because I have huge problems when it comes to spices, if I don't know roughly if I am dealing with a sprinkle, half a teaspoon, teaspoon or tablespoon of something. I definitely would need an example given of 'spices' and change from there, like 'I used 1 teaspoon of ground coriander and cumin and salt'. PLEASE! The seasoning is the most important. I added and tasted, added and tasted and it still did not come out well, at a point I think I have added too much. Please supply us not only with e.g. names of spices, but amount to go from there. TA!



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