Recipe By: slightly adapted from The Pressured Cook: Over 75 One-Pot Meals In Minutes, Made In Today’s 100% Safe Pressure Cookers ~ Lorna Sass
Serving Size: 5

2 cups dried chickpeas — picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight in ample water to cover, or speed-soaked (see below)
1 tablespoon water
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
3 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup coarse bulgur
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes — or more to taste
2 pounds eggplant — peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (see tip)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 cup hot or boiling water
2 cloves garlic — pushed through a press (2 to 3)
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds — or more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons salt — or to taste

Tomato-Cucumber Salad:
3 cups diced plum tomatoes (about 1 pound)
2 cups cucumbers — peeled, seeded, and diced (see Tip)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 teaspoon salt

Drain the chickpeas and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp. water in the cooker over medium-high heat. Cook the onions for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the water, chickpeas, bulgur, caraway seeds, and red pepper flakes. Set the eggplant on top.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 16 minutes. While the stew is cooking, blend the tomato paste and tahini into the hot water. Set aside. Prepare the Tomato-Cucumber Salad by combining the tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon juice, cilantro, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

After 16 minutes, quick-release the pressure. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. Set the cooker over medium heat. Stir in the tomato paste mixture, garlic, coriander, and salt.

Stir well. If necessary, mash any remaining chunks of eggplant against the sides of the cooker and blend them in to create a thick, creamy sauce. Add more red pepper flakes and additional coriander, if needed. Cook over medium heat until the garlic loses its raw edge, about 3 minutes. Ladle portions of the stew into large, shallow bowls and sprinkle on a liberal portion of the Tomato-Cucumber Salad. Pass the remaining salad at the table.

Serves 5 to 6

If you use the long, think Japanese eggplant, you don’t have to peel it. Opt for seedless cucumbers or kirbies, which you don’t have to seed.

Variation: Chickpeas In Eggplant-Tahini Sauce With Spinach

When you add the tomato paste, stir in about 3/a pound of thoroughly washed, chopped fresh spinach. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until the spinach is tender, about 2 minutes.

Speed-Soaking Beans:
The pressure cooker offers the option of speed-soaking, a technique that takes about 20 minutes and is roughly equivalent to soaking overnight. This method is not completely reliable: If the beans are very fresh, they sometimes begin to cook. (This is more a consideration with small beans than with large ones.) However, the method is handy for a last-minute pre-soak:

Place the water and beans in the cooker, in a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part beans. (If using an old-fashioned jiggle-top cooker and preparing a large quantity of beans, add 2 teaspoons of oil per cup of dried beans to control the foam that develops during speed soaking.)

Lock the lid in place. Over high eat, bring to high pressure.

For small beans, such as navies: As soon as high pressure is reached, turn off the heat.

For medium beans, such as Great Northerns: cook for 1 minute over high pressure.

For Large beans, such as chickpeas: Cook for 3 minutes under high pressure.

Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow excess steam to escape.

Drain and rinse beans and proceed as directed in the recipe.

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In this unusual dish, my starting point has been the Tunisian kitchen, where chickpeas are a staple and tabil–a spice mix of caraway and coriander seeds plus hot Chile pepper–is the much loved equivalent of India’s curry blend.

As the chickpeas become tender, the eggplant is cooked down to a puree that becomes the sauce. Bulgur wheat adds chewy substance and tahini (sesame seed paste) gives the stew a nutty richness. Resist any temptation to omit the Tomato Cucumber Salad garnish, which brings lively crunch and color to the stew.

Original version posted to the Veg-Recipes list

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