Thursday, 25 August 2011

Six more easy recipes... the much loved & abundant aubergine!

I used to despise aubergines as a child.  They were either dry and chewy or soggy and watery.  Never with much flavour and nearly always stuffed with something vile.  A friend at a BBQ convinced me to try her teriyaki aubergine and since then, myself and the humble aubergine started a new relationship.  Aubergines are abundant, fat & cheap at the moment, so enjoy a few of my favourite aubergine recipes. 

All the following recipes are easy and quick to make (15 to 20 mins).

Brinjal bhaji (aubergine curry)
This is the easiest curry recipe I've ever learned (The Curry Secret) and tastes amazing, even better if left to stand in fridge overnight.  Chop 2 aubergines, 1 large white onion and 1 green pepper into 1" pieces.  Add 2.5 tsp garam masala, 1.5 tsp chilli powder, 1.5 tsp salt and 1 finely chopped large red chilli.  Pour over 1.5 cups of vegetable oil and bring to boil, then simmer until the aubergine starts to breakdown.  It might seem like too much oil, but you can drain off the excess at the end.  The flavours in this dish are enhanced if you leave overnight. 

Baba ganoush
I love having a little stock of this dip in my fridge.  Stab the aubergine (so they don't explode in the oven).  Place in very hot oven until skin blackens.  Scoop out flesh, allowing excess liquid to drain away.  Blitz with blender, adding salt to taste and garlic clove. Place in bowl with sprinkle of paprika & drizzle of olive oil, and serve with flat breads.    

Aubergine with thai basil & chilli
This is another super simple dish.  Cut aubergine into 1/2 inch cubes and stir fry with 3 tbsp veg oil, 1 sliced red chilli, 4 stems of Thai basil, leaves picked and 1-2 tbsp of veggie oyster sauce (yes there is such a thing, in good Chinese grocers)

Easy peasy roasted summer veg with feta
Chop aubergine, courgette, squash, red onions & peppers into 1" cubes.  Lay in deep baking tray and drizzle generously with olive oil and black pepper (not salt at this stage or veg will lose colour and shrink too much).  Also add whole garlic cloves (unpeeled).  Roast in hot oven for about 10-15 mins, then add crumbled feta, olives and whole jalapeno chillies.  Roast again for another 10 mins.

Italian style aubergine bake
Slice aubergines lengthways and griddle with olive oil until softened.  Make a sauce by softening onions, red pepper, tomatoes and garlic (with whatever fresh herbs you have - basil and marjoram are good).  Then layer the aubergine, sauce and sliced mozzarella in a dish, repeating the layers (like a lasagna).  Top with breadcrumbs, mixed seeds and grated hard strong flavoured cheese.  Bake until golden and bubbling.

Teriyaki aubergine
Slice aubergine lengthways into 1cm slices.  Marinate in teriyaki and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  Lay on hot griddle or BBQ.  Works great with courgettes & peppers too.

For some more veggie BBQ ideas, check out Jamie's magazine this month, which has some lovely ideas including Mexican corn 4 ways, Mexican black bean burgers (nice nutty spicy texture too) and salt & pepper tofu skewers (nom nom nom!).  Or you could also try my paneer shashlik recipe: This works great on the barbeque, and dare I say, the marinade is pretty good on non veggie things too (so my sister tells me).

Now all we need is a little sunshine!  Jx

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