July 27, 2008

Eggplants Cooked Two Ways

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The Family
"The Chin", small graffiti, Asian, and Mr. Eggplant Head

Last week I purchased too many eggplants. First, because two of them were shaped funny I just had to get them. One had a weird growth that looked like a nose (Mr. Eggplant Head?) and the other was bent and reminded me of Jay Leno's chin. Second, because I've always loved the sweet and smoky flavor of eggplants simply fried with beaten eggs (tortang talong) or charred over the stove then seasoned with salt and ginger juice served with chopped tomatoes as a cold appetizer or salad. Recently I have been cooking and loving Middle Eastern-style food and used half of the eggplants in a chickpeas stew, the other half I made into ratatouille. This is the first time I made both dishes which are similar to each other, and I equally love them. They're both healthy vegetarian dishes which can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Arabian Eggplant And Chickpea Stew

Chickpea And Eggplant Stew

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
sea salt
½ cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, sliced thin
10 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 cup seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cinnamon
fresh lemon juice, optional
fresh mint sprigs for garnish
  • Peel and halve the chickpeas; set aside.
  • Cut the whole unpeeled eggplant into 2½-inch chunks. Salt the pieces and leave to drain in a colander for at least 1 hour.
  • Rinse the eggplant, squeeze gently, and pat dry with paper towels. Working in batches, lightly fry the chunks in 5 tablespoons hot oil until golden brown; drain. Sprinkle the eggplant with pepper and set aside.
  • In a 3-quart casserole with a tight-fitting lid, warm the remaining olive oil and add the onions. Saute them over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until limp and golden. Add the chickpeas and fry 2 minutes. Stir in the drained eggplant, unpeeled garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and paprika.
  • Cover tightly and cook over low-medium heat without stirring 40 minutes. Carefully fold in the crushed garlic, parsley, vinegar, sugar, and allspice.
  • Cook 10 minutes longer, or until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with the mint.
For the ratatouille I followed the easier one-pot version of this recipe, it is really delicious. I simmered the dish for almost 2 hours on low heat and the vegetables surprisingly retained their shape.

Ratatouille
ratatouille - the French pinakbet (minus the salted fish and pork):-)

11 comments:

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Ha: the French pinakbet. I like that. ;)

Dhanggit said...

french pinakbet :-)hehehe cute

its funny i use to hate talong when i was a kid but i start to love it..i miss talong in philippines..the thin ones and small ones , great with bagoong..but your versions are two delectable dishes i would love love to taste!

Marvin said...

I love tortang talong--with ketchup! That must sound weird, no?

Lori Lynn said...

Haha Jay Leno and Mr. Eggplant head, I see what you mean! Too funny.

As for these dishes, I'll take some of both, thank you. I like how in the ratatouille you can identify the different vegetables. Vibrant!

raissa said...

For some strange reason my tongue feels itchy if I ate too much talong but in moderation I am fine. I like tortang talong and also talong salad but the best is talong steak. hmmm

raissa said...

btw, whats your banner picture now? it looks good.

oggi said...

JS, just having fun, heheh...although they both are cooked layering the vegetables, unstirred.

Dhanggit, steamed with calamansi and bagoong, yum!

Marvin, not weird at all. We also eat tortang talong with sweet and spicy banana ketchup.:)

Lori Lynn, yeah I also thought with the length of cooking time the vegetables will melt away.:)

Raissa, some eggplants sting a little, I don't know why. Do you eat the talong steak with calamansi and soy sauce? That's yummy.
The banner is blueberry cobbler. I have been into cobbler lately, I love the buttery biscuit topping with different fruits.:)

raissa said...

Do you eat the talong steak with calamansi and soy sauce? That's yummy.

yes! thats the only and best way to eat talong steak.

your biscuit topping looks so delicious. I have never made cobbler maybe I should start =)

oggi said...

Raissa, I also made fresh peach cobbler which is really yummy.

Joelen said...

Mmm... I wonder if I can persuade my eggplant hating husband to give this a try. :)

oggi said...

Joelen, he might like these 2 recipes.:)

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