Sheikh Mahshi is loved and prepared by many Middle Eastern cultures, Assyrians included. Some refer to this dish as “Sheikh El-Mahshi.” In Arabic, “Sheikh Mahshi” means “Stuffed Prince.” I don’t know if it’s due to the stuffed eggplant resembling a stuffed prince, or because the prince was stuffed after eating this dish? 😉
Of all the stuffed vegetable recipes, this one is considered the fanciest. The reason for this is that the vegetables are stuffed with meat. Other recipes, like Dolma, for example, are stuffed with a mixture of meat and rice. But don’t worry, we don’t omit the rice entirely. Sheikh Mahshi is served with White Rice on the side.
Variations of This Recipe
The most common vegetable used in this recipe is eggplant. Another popular option is to use zucchini. My mom, however, always used a mixture of eggplant, green bell peppers, and potatoes. And the potatoes were always my favorite! I like the option of having different vegetables, especially when cooking this dish for others. Not everyone likes eggplant, like my husband, Scott, for example. He loves this dish because I serve him the potatoes and green peppers, and save the eggplant for myself. Another variation of this recipe is cooking the vegetables in a yogurt sauce instead of a tomato sauce. While some cultures include pine nuts, I, like my mom, prefer to leave them out.
Special Tools Recommended
Although there are no special tools required for this recipe, there is one tool that I highly recommend: A vegetable corer. A corer is very helpful in coring the eggplant, while not damaging their “walls.” It’s very handy for Dolma too, when stuffing zucchini and eggplant. Although a sharp knife may be used, you just have to be more careful. An apple corer may be used as an alternative.
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Middle Eastern Stuffed eggplant dish known as Sheikh Mahshi (Stuffed Sheik)
- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup Italian parsley divided
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 3 medium potatoes
- 3 small Indian eggplant
- 3 medium green bell peppers
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp. citric acid
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Filling: Brown the meat, along with the onion, until the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic, 3/4 cup parsley, and the remaining filling ingredients. Cook for a few minutes longer. Set aside to cool. Save the remaining 1/4 cup of parsley for later.
Vegetables: Remove the stems from the eggplant and cut a 1/2 inch section off the end, and trim to fit inside the cored eggplant. The eggplant should be small in size, and round instead of skinny, so that they can be cored easily. If you have a coring tool, use that, otherwise, you will need to use a small knife. Save the eggplant flesh in a separate bowl.
- Remove the stems off of the peppers and slice the tops off and retain. Clean the inside of the peppers, making sure to remove all the seeds. Poke a few holes in the eggplant and peppers using a fork. This will allow the juices to penetrate the filling.
- Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the salt and pepper into the vegetables. Use your hand to rub the salt and pepper into the cavities of carved vegetables.
- Find a pot that can accommodate the vegetables, allowing them to fit tightly.
- Remove the vegetables from the pot. Add 1/4 cup oil to the same pot. Fry the vegetables and their lids on all sides. Make sure the potatoes are slightly browned and the eggplant and peppers are softened. Set aside to cool, while you work on your sauce.
- Sauce: Microwave two cups of water until hot. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Mix until the tomato paste is completely diluted.
- Assembly: Stuff the peppers with the filling, and add their lids to keep the meat from spilling out. Do the same with the potatoes.
Finally stuff the eggplant. Arrange all of the vegetables into the pot. I had some gaps in the pot and some extra filling. I filled the gaps with stuffed mini peppers. (At this point, you can scatter the potato and eggplant flesh over the vegetables, or discard.
- Pour the sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Upon boiling, turn the temperature to low and cook, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened.
Serve the Sheikh Mahshi with white rice or vermicelli rice.