Sunday, April 19, 2009

Use it all up - terzo giorno

Morning, sunshine

Morning, sunshine!

It's a beautiful day in Canberra and I can't wait to get into the garden and potter for the rest of the day. The last of the tomato glut has been donated to a friend with a kind heart who is cooking for another friend in need, so it's time to rip the tomato plants out and plant some snow peas, sugar snaps and silverbeet in their place. The eggplants and capsicums are still fruiting, so they'll stay around a little longer.

Last night I turned the eggplants into a fantastic meal which I am still thinking about. I have the leftovers in the fridge saved for dinner tonight, and it's all I can do to not abandon that idea just eat it for lunch instead. It was that delicious.
It had a very Indian feel about it (hard not to with the garam masala) and it was so very fragrant whilst also being bloody fantastic. We'll be making this one again and again.

Spicy eggplants

Feeds 4.

You'll need:
Two large eggplants, or 6 Lebanese/Japanese eggplants. I used the latter because that's what I grow
Oil for shallow frying
2 medium onions, finely chopped
400g tin of diced tomatoes (I also added a chopped fresh tomato, just because it was there)
A squirt of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 Lebanese breads, cut into wedges

1. Slice the eggplants, throw into a collander, and salt. Let drain for 20 minutes or so, then rinse and pat dry. ( I know there are different schools of thought on this. Maggie Beer believes that eggplants these days don't need salting, as the bitterness has been bred out of them. I can tell you that I have tried both salting and not salting, and the taste is definitely different. I will salt each time, even for only 10 minutes, as I like the taste a lot better)


2. In the meantime, mix together the tomatoes, tomato paste and sauce, onions, garlic, ginger and chilli. Set aside.

3. In a heavy frying pan, heat the oil and fry the eggplants until they are brown on both sides. Do this in several batches. Remove eggplants and set aside.

4. If your frying pan is deep and has a lid, then keep using it for this step. Mine doesn't have a lid so I used a stock pot. Heat a little oil (or reheat what you have left from frying the eggplants) and add the garam masala and turmeric. Stirfry for a couple of seconds (don't do what I did and fry for longer, or your eyes will be stinging for the rest of the night!) then quickly add the tomato mix. Stir, and cook for 5 minutes. I added about a 1/4 cup of water this point to make the sauce a little less stodgy. Add the eggplants carefully and cover with the sauce. Turn the heat to a low heat and put the lid on. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes, checking occassionally to give a little stir. Check it for seasoning, but the only thing I added was pepper, as I found it was salty enough from the tomato paste and sauce.

5. Remove from heat, and serve with wedges of Lebanese bread. We ate the entire meal using the bread to pick up the food. It was divine. You could also serve it with basmati rice or garlic mash.

Spicy eggplant

My only complaint with this dish was that the onion didn't want to cook all the way through and uncooked onion tends to upset my stomach. Next time I'll be cooking the onion first and then adding the spices and tomatoes after.

That's the last of my 'use it up' recipes. Hope you've enjoyed them, and if you use them I'd love to hear about it!


  1. It looks awfully yummy but I still can't quite get over my lifelong hatred for eggplant. My Mum was taught to cook it by genuine Italians, not sure which distric, but they all must have loved the really pungent, bitter flavour and I never did. Lately, I have had some delicious eggplant schnitzels from a Calabrese friend but my first reaction is still negative. Enjoy your gardening!

  2. i will be using this recipe this week for the japanese eggplants I bought at the markets. Ta Michelle.

  3. That sounds and looks bleedin' marvellous. Got to give that a go. Thanks.

  4. We recently added eggplant to spag bolognaise, the kids didn't know it was there and ate it all up. Jules couldn't tell either. One more way of hiding veges from kids!!

  5. This sounds like 7 types of heaven to me. A very bad share house /eggplant experience has turned Mr Ric Rac off them for life...but I indulge at every convenience. Thanks hon!

  6. I think my friend in need might enjoy this. She is vegetarian, so I am always on the look out for good recipes. Can't recall how many eggplants were in the booty you delivered. Fridge smells great with all the basil too! Thanks again, and I am sure that V and her new hip will love you too!

  7. Looks delish! and what a productive garden - I dream of space, skills and time to grow what I can eat. Maybe one day.
    Definitely looking forward to seeing what comes out of the garden in the coming cooler months Michelle ;-)


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