Chefs' Recipes

Torshi and makdous

Pickled vegetables and oil-cured eggplant make a winning starter that's easy to prepare ahead.

By Joseph Abboud and Tom Sarafian
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus cooling and pickling
  • Serves 4
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"Torshi is pickled vegetables and makdous is oil-cured eggplant," says Joseph Abboud. Begin at least a week ahead to cure the eggplant.


  • 375 ml (1½ cups) white wine vinegar
  • 55 gm rock salt
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 800 gm mixed vegetables, such as cauliflower florets, baby cucumbers (cukes), long red or green chilli
  • ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp dried mint
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ⅛ tsp dried basil
  • ⅛ tsp dried dill
  • ⅛ tsp ground coriander
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Large pinch each of black pepper and nutmeg
  • 8 Lebanese (baby) eggplant, peeled (see note)
  • ½ small red capsicum
  • 40 gm lightly roasted walnuts, finely chopped
  • ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Olive oil, for preserving


  • 1
    To make torshi, bring vinegar, salt and 1 litre water to the boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve. Whisk in turmeric, pour over the vegetables in a non-reactive container to cover, cool, then seal and refrigerate to pickle (overnight, but preferably a week).
  • 2
    For makdous, bring 2.5 litres water to the boil and blanch eggplant until just tender (5-7 minutes). Refresh in a bowl of iced water. Drain and pat dry.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 230°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Roast capsicum on tray, turning occasionally, until skin is charred and flesh is soft (25-35 minutes). Cool to room temperature then peel, remove seeds and finely chop. Add to a bowl with walnuts and garlic, season to taste and mix to form a coarse paste. Make a small, deep slit in one side of each eggplant, fill with a little paste, then rub eggplant with a large pinch of salt and pack into a sterilised jar. Cover with oil, seal with a lid and leave at room temperature to mature (1-2 weeks), then refrigerate. Once open, use within 3 days.
  • 4
    Combine garlic, spices and dried herbs in a bowl. Drain torshi, sprinkle with spice mixture and serve with makdous at room temperature.


Lebanese eggplant are available from select greengrocers. Substitute peeled, halved Japanese eggplant.