A client recently mentioned that she had never cooked with eggplant. It is in season right now, so it was plentiful at the market. She said it looked so lovely and it was cheap, but didn’t buy it as she didn’t know what to do with it.
For me, when I think about eggplant, the options are endless. It is such a versatile vegetable with a fantastic almost meat-like texture which works equally well baked, grilled, sautéed, steamed, pan-fried or pureed. It soaks up flavours really well, so is a great addition to curries and casseroles too.
Baba ganoush, the smoky eggplant dip sprang immediately to mind. Then there’s ratatouille, eggplant fritters, moussaka, eggplant parmigiana, eggplant rolls, Japanese miso eggplant and eggplant stacks just to name a few of my favourite eggplant dishes.
But the recipe I decided to share with her was this one…(see below for health benefits of eggplant)
Twice Cooked Eggplant with Tahini and Yoghurt
- 6 medium eggplants (approx. 220-240g each)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 1/3 cups (300g) low fat Greek yoghurt
- juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ bunch mint, leaves picked
- ½ fresh pomegranate, seeds removed
- Heat the oven to 170°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Wash eggplants, then cut in half lengthways.
- Brush the surface of the eggplant with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and place face down on baking tray.
- Bake for 40 minutes, turning over after 30 minutes.
- When cooked, remove from oven, cover with foil and set aside to cool.
- While the eggplants are cooking, toast the cumin seeds in a dry fry pan for 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
- Combine toasted cumin seeds, garlic, tahini, yoghurt and lemon juice. Set aside.
- When ready to serve, heat a grill pan or barbecue.
- Cook eggplant on grill, cut side down for 3-4 minutes, until heated through and charred on the surface.
- Transfer grilled eggplant to a serving dish.
- Spoon the yoghurt sauce over, then scatter with the mint and pomegranate seeds.
- Serve alongside lots of other yummy grilled vegies and some fish or vegie burgers.
Note: The eggplant doesn’t need to be grilled, you can put the yoghurt topping directly on it when it comes out of the oven. I just love the smoky flavour you get from the grilling process, which adds another complexity to this gorgeously delicious and nourishing dish!
Per Serve: 742kJ or 177 calories; P 8g Fat 9g SFat 1.5g CHO 13g Fibre 7g
Adapted from a recipe by Karen Martini on Good Food
Health Benefits of Eggplant – Eggplants are very low in calories and a good source of fibre, vitamins (B 1, 3 & 6, folate), minerals (manganese, potassium) and contain important phytonutrients including flavonoids which protect cell membranes from damage (especially in the brain) and phenolic compounds which act as antioxidants and have anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral activities. The viscous fibre found in eggplants is a ‘sticky’ type of soluble fibre also found in oats, barley and beans. Viscous fibres bind to cholesterol in your digestive tract and help to remove it out of your body via the faeces. These viscous fibres are part of the dietary approach used to naturally lower cholesterol (the Portfolio Diet), which, if followed correctly, has been shown to be as effective as a 20mg statin (pharmaceutical drugs used to lower cholesterol such as Lipitor and Crestor)!