Fill up your largest pot with water and bring to the boil. Cut 2 large aubergines in cubes and drop in all of them. Boil them for approximately 10 minutes or until they feel quite soft when you prick them with a small knife. Remember to turn them a couple of times, as they need to be cooked evenly.
Remove them with a slotted spoon into a colander and squeeze the water absorbed during their cooking time pressing them with a spoon. Do this quickly because you need to season them while hot so the flavour infuses the aubergine.
On a separate bowl mix
120ml extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped very finely
juice of 1/2 lemon
Add to the aubergine cubes and mix very well.
Let the flavours infuse for couple of days.
Put some water in a pan and bring it to the boil. Slice the aubergines and place them in a steamer. Steam them for about 10 minutes – to check whether they’re ready, simply squeeze the sides gently and if they’re silky soft then they’re done. Remove them from the steamer, place them in a colander and leave to cool.
Wash greens carefully and remove stems. Chop leaves into bite size pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add greens and toss to coat with oil. Sauté over medium heat until leaves begin to turn brilliant green and wilt down. Mix together 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or mirin), and 2 tablespoons of water. Pour into pan. Cover pan tightly. Cook until leaves are tender, 5 to 8 minutes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if pan becomes dry. Taste to check and add salt. Greens should be tasty, not bitter; still green, and not grey.
1 medium eggplant, cut into slices
1/2 cup rice or baking flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon tahini diluted with water to form a liquid batter (non-vegans – 1 egg, beaten)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Cut eggplant into slices. Mix the rice or baking flour with salt, cumin, hot paprika on a plate. Mix the tahini or beat the egg on a bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on another plate. Lay each side of the aubergine slice in rice or wheat four, then in the liquid batter of diluted tahini (or beaten egg), and then at last in breadcrumbs to coat the outside of the aubergine. Heat oil in a heavy pan. Fry the aubergine in batches until each side is golden brown and crisp on both sides and tender inside.
2 medium Ripe Avocados, halved, pitted, and removed from peel
1- 2 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (remove seeds)
1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
Tabasco sauce (to taste)
Mash avocado with fork (the amount of “chunkiness” is a matter of personal taste). Add the lemon juice, tomatoes, tabasco sauce and salt. Refrigerate until serving.
5-6 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
1 tsp coriander seeds, roughly ground
2 tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
1 large tomato chopped OR 1 tbsp tomato paste
1 red chili (or two if you love spicy foods like me)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp brown sugar
A handful roughly chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
A handful roughly chopped fresh coriander
1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Grill the aubergines whole over a hot barbecue, directly on the naked flame of a gas hob, or under the grill, turning until the skin of the aubergines is charred and crispy all over and the flesh is soft. Remove from the heat.
2. When cool enough to handle, cut off the tops and peel off the skin, scraping the flesh off the back of the skin if necessary. Roughly chop the aubergine and set aside on the chopping board.
3. Place a large frying pan or saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the oil and when it is hot but not smoking, add the garlic. Fry for a few seconds until it begins to colour, then add the coriander and cumin seeds.
4. Stir a little and cook for a further 10-20 seconds to bring out the flavour of the spices, then add the chopped aubergine, tomato, soy sauce, sugar, chili, parsley, half of the fresh coriander, and finally the balsamic vinegar. Give everything a thorough stir so that all the ingredients are evenly mixed.
5. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring every five minutes to scrape off any caramelised bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. The aubergine is ready when it is no longer watery.
6. To finish, stir in the remaining coriander and taste for seasoning once more, adding salt if necessary
I made Babaganoush (eggplant patè) this morning. The recipe requires the eggplant to be baked and then the flesh to be scooped. At this point all cookbooks tell you to discard the peel. However, if you scoop the flesh carefully there’s always a thin amount of flesh left.
Being a true cucina povera cook, I have created a very tasty side dish with them.
After you have scooped carefully the flesh from the eggplants slice the skin in slices. You have no rules here except that you should add some salt to the skins. Apart from that you can season them as you like. One of my favourite seasonings is cumin, and chilly powder. Keep aside.
Make a Pastella – an Italian frying batter made of water and flour. I find Pastella wonderful because it does not soak up oil like a sponge and instead always gives you a very thin and deliciously brittle crust. It is perfect for frying vegetables.
Any flour will do, but I prefer using rice flour to add an extra crunchiness. I find it to be just the perfect flour for this kind of dish.
1 cup of water
Flour (any kind, in my case, rice flour)
Put the water in a bowl and add the flour little by little, constantly stirring the mixture. I am used to do it with my fingers so I can feel the consistency, but you can use a fork. When the tip of my fingers get coated or the batter has the consistency of sour cream you are done.
Dip the slices, a few at a time into the batter and make sure they get evenly coated. Lift them from the bowl and fry. The oil must be hot enough to sizzle on contact with the eggplant. Do not overcrowd the pan. Leave some space between the slices. When a fine golden crust forms on one side, turn the slices over and do the other side. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.
You can serve it as a side dish or as an appetizer with any kind of salsa you like.
Baingan Bartha is a really easy and tasty Indian eggplant curry I always eat with pita bread, or rice. This time I mixed it up with couscous. Delicious.
* 1 large eggplant
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
* 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
* 1 tablespoon curry powder
* 1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2. Place eggplant on a medium baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender. Remove from heat, cool, peel, and chop.
3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Mix in cumin seeds and onion. Cook and stir until onion is tender.
4. Mix ginger garlic paste, curry powder, and tomato into the saucepan, and cook about 1 minute. Stir in yogurt. Mix in eggplant and jalapeno pepper, and season with salt. Cover, and cook 10 minutes over high heat. Remove cover, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking about 5 minutes.