Thanks to Shanie Reichman who sent me her grandmother’s (Zvia Levy) recipe.
Although this dish can be made vegetarian (recipe follows), the traditional Nashdidan version of Chechertma includes meat. My grandmother always specified that eggplants should be chosen carefully. They should be shiny and light for their weight. The aim is to choose an eggplant with the least amount of seeds. If there are many seeds, the eggplants should be sliced, salted and placed in a colander with a heavy weight on top for an hour. Blot the juices before frying.
Chechertma With meat
- Marinate meat in 1 onion overnight.
- Place marinated meat and onion in large pot and cook on low, stirring occasionally.
- When water evaporates add 1 cup of boiling water, cover and cook on low.
- Check every 15 minutes to make sure the water is not low. Do not allow it to dry out.
- Add 1/4 cup of boiling water when necessary to cover meat. Set aside when meat is cooked (approximately 2-3 hours).
- In a separate pan, fry every vegetable separately.
- Sauté the rest of the onions with 1 tsp of salt until golden. Remove from pan.
- Fry the eggplants on medium high until browned but not completely cooked. Remove from pan.
- Fry tomatoes on high just to brown each side. Remove from pan.
- Fry potato slices with salt on low until cooked.
- When meat is cooked, add the tomato paste mixed with 1 cup of boiling water to the meat.
- Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper to the meat.
- Layer meat in long dish, (9×13 pyrex) then a layer of potatoes, then eggplants, then tomatoes and onions and their juices.
- Cover and bake on 300 for 30 minutes. or until potatoes are cooked.
- Can freeze before baking if all vegetables are cooked well.