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Exotic recipes for Aubergines!

A couple of international recipes for Aubergines

Aubergine and pepper spread/dip

This recipe is from Serbia and is known as Avjar. It is traditionally made in the Autumn.

It will make about 2 pints

  • 3 medium aubergines, halved lengthwise
  • 6 red peppers
  • 3 tblsp Olive oil
  • 3 tblsp Vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely or crushed
  • 2 chillies chopped finely
  • pinch chilli powder
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper — to taste

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Place the aubergines and peppers on two lightly oiled baking sheets and roast for about 20 mins until the skins are blackened and it is cooked through and softened. You will have to turn the peppers occasionally. Place aubergines in one large bowl and peppers in another and cover both in cling film so they steam for a few mins.

Remove cling film and allow veg to cool.

In the meantime, place onion, garlic and chillies in a large pan and saute in a little butter or oil til soft.

After the vegetables have cooled, scoop the soft insides of the aubergine into a large bowl or a food processor, discarding the skins and stems. Remove the stems, seeds and blackened skins from the peppers and rinse them lightly in cool water. Chop the peppers roughly and add them to the aubergine.

Add the sauted onion, garlic and chillies in with the aubergines and peppers and using a potato masher, mash it all together until smooth but still a little chunky. If using a food processor, pulse the mixture to the desired texture.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste.

Place into steralized jars. This is a bit like a chutney and has a similar shelf life. You can use it with cold cuts, as a dip for bread or just spread on a chunky slice of ciabatta, or as a condiment for roast meats. I find it extremely moreish.

You can also add de-seeded and chopped tomatoes to the mix or even cooked green beans.. It really can be adapted for all tastes.


Indian aubergine with tomatoes

This is a bit like baba ghanoush and is from India where it is known as Baigan Bhurta. You can serve it as a side dish or just spread on naan bread or chapatis or used as a tasty dip.

This will make 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 large aubergines (approx 1 1/2lbs)
  • I large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely or crushed
  • 1 tblsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 Chillis chopped finely and deseeded
  • 3 tblsp vegetable oil (or ghee for authenticity) 
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 large chopped and deseeded tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and pepper  to taste
  • 2 tsp Garam masala 
  • 2 handfuls of peas

Preheat oven to 200 degree C. Place the aubergines, cut side down, on an oiled baking sheet and roast in the oven until softened, about 20/25 mins. Allow to cool a little, then peel, cut into chunks and set aside.

Puree the onion, garlic, ginger and chilies in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding a little water if necessary.

Heat the oil or ghee over a medium heat in a large pot or wok. Add the cumin seeds and stir until lightly brown. It will smell lovely! Immediately stir in the onion mixture and cook slowly until any excess liquid has evaporated and the raw onion taste is cooked out, about 6 to 8 minutes. Ensure the mixture does not catch.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for about another 5 to 10 mins until the tomatoes are cooked down and the liquid is reduced.

Stir in the roasted aubergine and a couple of handfuls of peas, plus the water and salt. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat down low, cover the pan and cook slowly for another 15 to 20 minutes. The aubergine will break down into a pulp. If you do not like peas, you can miss them out.

Remove from heat, stir in the garam masala and adjust seasoning to taste.

The original recipe says to chop half a bunch of coriander and sprinkle over before serving but I miss that bit out as I do not like coriander!

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