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Yemenite Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
6 tablespoons additional oil
1 medium onion, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 3/4 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped or 2 28-ounce cans plum
tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons tomato paste, optional
3 medium garlic cloves, minced

Cut peel from eggplant. Remove ends. Cut eggplant into 3/8 inch
crosswise slices. Sprinkle slices lightly but evenly with salt on
both sides and put in a colander. Place colander over a bowl. In
addition, place a second bowl on top of the eggplant slices in the
colander. Put something heavy inside this second bowl. Let weighted
eggplant drain for 30 minutes. Turn the eggplant slices over at
this point and continue the weighting, draining process for another
30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Heat oil for onions in saucepan. Add onion and saute over medium-low
heat for about 10 minutes until onions are soft and light golden.
Add cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Add tomatoes and cayenne. Stir well. Increase heat to medium-high
and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and cook over low heat,
uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until tomatoes are very soft.
Add tomato paste. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as
desired. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons of remaining
oil and saute half the eggplant for 2 minutes on each side. Set
sauted eggplant aside and continue sauting procedure with remaining
eggplant. Lightly oil a shallow 5-cup baking dish. Arrange alternate
layers of eggplant and sauce, ending with sauce. Bake 30 minutes
or until eggplant is very tender, basting occasionally. Serve hot
or at room temperature.


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