Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stuffed Fried Eggplant

Here is a recipe from Alex:

Stuffed Fried Eggplant

This is actually something I made up, though I based it on something I
ate in Turkey(this is actually much better). It may actually be
identical to the dish "Imam Bayaldi," but it looks like there are many
variations on that dish anyway. I only made one eggplant, since it was
left over from another meal - it didn't take long at all, maybe 30
minutes.

Ingredients:
  • Little Mini Eggplants(I had just one - the more, the easier the whole thing is, obviously) - ie, about 4-6" long, not including stem.*
  • Onions (enough to fill the hollowed cavities of the eggplants.)
  • Garlic
  • Hot peppers(to taste)
  • Cumin
Optional(but delicious):
  • Pomegranate molasses("dabas rumaan")(Worth having in the house anyway- very good with salads, or drizzled on top of the baba ghanouj from Lillian's recipe. Available at nearest Middle Eastern grocery store, or ethnic food aisle. Different from grenadine, I believe.)

Cut onions into thin strips, hot peppers into small pieces, mince
garlic. Skin eggplants, cut off bottom, hollow out center(try to
retain a little "plug" if you can for keeping the stuffing in.) You
need not remove the stem(it makes it look nicer when you bring it to
table, also). You can mix the eggplant innards with the onions and
stuff, or you can choose not to. I cooked the innards.

Sautee onions, hot peppers and garlic(and optionally innards) until
nice and soft. Remove to another dish. Add cumin and salt to
mixture(just a bit - and you could probably add it while cooking, but
I couldn't find it until I was done sauteeing. Our cupboard is a
catastrophe). Stuff mixture into eggplants. Plug if possible. Fill pan
with a small layer of oil (olive oil will taste best, but you'll have
a very smokey kitchen. We only have olive oil.), then fry the
eggplants until brown and crispy on the outside, and soft enough to
poke through really easily. Remove from pan, drizzle with small
quantity pomegranate molasses (this really makes everything way
better). You can skatter any leftover filling around the finished
product.

The whole thing ends up looking pretty fancy, so it's good for serving
to guests, etc as an appetizer/side dish to some sort of meaty main,
or as a bigger appetizer among a group of small ones (hummus, baba
ghanouj, etc). However, it's not really easy to divide up, so you
should probably cook 1/guest.

*Is there a special term for this in English? Aubergines? Or is that
just British for "eggplant"? I do not guarantee the results if you use
one of the big honking ones.

1 comment:

Lillian said...

"Aubergine" is just the British/French term for the fruit. The name "eggplant" is fine, since there's no way to easily refer to the smaller, more tender varieties; you have to be specific. It's all the same species, just different cultivars. In fact, the reason we call them eggplants in the US is because the original variety that was introduced was white and round, like an egg. I have no idea how we ended up with the bitter, purple monstrosities we have now. Thankfully people are demanding more varieties again, making them easier to find.