Figs & Lemon

My Culinary Adventures

Stuffed Aubergines

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Most of my inspiration to cook and what to cook comes from the sight of fresh ingredients at the local supermarket. I do understand that we live in a desert, but sometimes the quality of fresh produce is just beyond my comprehension. You buy PINK (not even red) tomatoes, leave them in the fridge and BAM! Two days later they go bad! Everything is so chemically enhanced and genetically modified that I doubt I even know what a fresh-off-the-tree fruit even tastes like. Although, once upon a time while touring across Northern Pakistan, I did have the opportunity to taste a peach fresh off the tree and it tasted absolutely exquisite. And mind you, I don’t even like peaches…that much.

Anyway, I was out getting veggies the other day at one of those large supermarket chains and to my surprise, I saw the freshest most cutest baby Aubergines. I’ve only always seen those poor things all bruised and wrinkled. Upon seeing these cuties I already started envisioning them stuffed with some sort of minced meat and served with a sauce of some kind. Mmmmm those babies were ending up in my oven one way or the other. So, I grabbed myself 9 cute little aubergine babies, tucked them safely in my baggie and put them to sleep next to the carrots in my cart. Until they were OmNommed upon!! DAN DAN DAN! :(

 

 

Stuffed Aubergines with Tomato Sauce & Yogurt

Let’s get started:

So basically, I didn’t bake the aubergines, I steamed them and they turned out just as great if not better. Here’s a brief outline of what you need to do followed by the recipes for the meat stuffing and the sauce:

  1. Wash and prep aubergines
  2. Put aubergines for steaming and start cooking the minced meat
  3. Aubergines steamed, scoop out insides and start the tomato sauce
  4. Meat and sauce should be done around the same time
  5. Stuff aubergines, place in sauce, cook with lid on for 3-4 minutes just to heat everything up
  6.  -Layer a casserole dish with plain greek yogurt seasoned with a little salt
    - Carefully remove aubergines from the tomato sauce and place them onto a plate with the help of tongs. Layer tomato sauce on     top of the yogurt
    - Place stuffed aubergines on top of the tomato sauce
    - Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve!

 

Here are the recipes:

Steamed Aubergines

  • Wash you aubergines and slice their heads off!! If your aubergines are having problems standing on their own two feet, cut a bit off their bottoms aswell just so there’s a straight surface for them to balance on.
  • After you have them headless and standing on their chopped bottoms (brutal I know!) poke some holes into the white fleshy surface of the aubergines (by some I mean 12-15 and yes I counted). Sprinkle some salt on top of them so it seeps into the holes and let them sit for about 10 minutes while you prep the onions and tomatoes for the minced meat.
  • After 10 minutes heat some water in a pan until it reaches boiling point. By some I literally mean “some” about enough that it reaches 1-2 cms above the base of the pan. The purpose is to just have enough water to create steam, not for the aubergines to cook in the water.
  • Once the water is boiling, sprinkle some salt into it, place the aubergines careully in the water (use tongs!!! steam can be really dangerous!). Place the aubergines heads on top of each Obi-wan Kenobi (I feel like im using the word aubergines a bit too much) and place a tightly fitting lid on top of the pan and turn down to simmer. Forget about the little Obi-wan Kenobis  for the next 10 minutes. Don’t touch them, Don’t move them about, Don’t open the lid!! Trust me they’ll be fine. Take them out after 10 minutes, place on a paper towel and scoop out insides keeping in mind that they don’t have bums so careful about leaving a base. I left about a 1/2 cm wall and scooped out about what looked like 2 teaspoons worth of aubergine flesh out of each aubergine. Reserve the pulp.

 

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 Minced Meat Stuffing

  • Olive oil                       3 tbsp
  • Beef Mince                    500gm
  • Chopped tomatoes           120 gms (1 large tomato)
  • Chopped Onions                60 gms    (1 medium red onion)
  • Minced ginger                  1 inch piece
  • Minced garlic                    1 clove
  • Cumin powder                  1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder                 1/4 tsp
  • Corriander powder                1 /2 tsp
  • Garam masala                        1/4 tsp
  • water                             1/2 cup
  • Salt n pepper

 

Heat some olive oil in a pan.Once its hot saute onions until translucent and then throw in your minced meat along with the ginger and garlic. Toss around until the meat changes color and then throw in all your spices and saute for about a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, toss around, add the water, cover and simmer (assuming all the previous steps were being done at medium to high flame) Let the minced meat cook for about half an hour or until tender. Keep checking the meat at 10 minute intervals to make sure theres enough water to tenderize the meat and keep it from sticking to the pan. Once the meat is cooked, turn up the flame and dry up any remaining water if in the event that there is too much water. Check seasoning.

 

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Tomato Sauce

  • Olive oil                          2 tbsp
  • Chopped Tomatoes         300 gms
  • Chopped Onions              50 gm
  • Green chillies                 1
  • Ginger                               1 inch piece
  • Garlic                                 1 clove
  • Red chilli powder            1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder                1 tsp
  • Garam masala                a pinch
  • tomato paste                    2 tsp
  • water                                  1/2 cup
  • Salt n pepper

 

Saute onion in some olive oil until slightly golden brown. Once they’re a second or two away from becoming golden, throw in your chopped tomamtoes to stop the cooking process for the onions. Toss in minced ginger and garlic, finely chopped and de-seeded green chillies and all the spices and saute for about 4-5 minutes on medium flame until you can see the oil glistening on the sides and on the surface of the sauce. Add the tomato paste (for color), mix well, add the water and let it simmer for a few minutes. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes for the sauce to be ready.

 

Once the sauce is ready, and the minced meat is ready, and the scooped out aubergines have been patiently waiting, stuff the aubergines with the meat and place into the pan with the Tomato sauce. Cover and let them sit for a while just so all the flavors combine and the aubergines are heated through. Layer in a casserole dish as mentioned above  (in the briefing :P lol) and serve with steamed rice…or even noodles I suppose.

 

Enjoy! xx

 

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