Tag Archives: eggplant

Ivory Coast…

Monday, June 10 –

I knew that this dinner was sneaking up. And I knew that I hadn’t made eggplant in a while, so I decided to go for it. When it got to the day-of, though, it just didn’t sound good. Not only that but boiling it to a paste photo(23)sounded like a terrible idea. (I haven’t ever tried it, however, so I could be wrong.) So instead, since it was just BestestFianceEver and I, I decided to change it up a little bit.

I cut up a quarter of an onion, a quarter of a yellow bell pepper, a quarter of an orange bell pepper, and a quarter of an eggplant. I heated up a little oil in the bottom of a pan, threw the veggies in, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, then dusted them lightly with cumin and turmeric. I let the veggies start to soften and then I pushed them to the side of the pan in a circle, added a little bit more oil to the middle of the pan, and then put the fish on the oil. Once the fish was flaky I put the rice on the plate, the fish next to the rice, and the veggies over the whole thing. BestestFianceEver made us a couple of green salads to go with it (hey, it’s summer and the veggies are perfect, so how could we not have a salad?)

I am really glad that I added just a little bit more flavor to the dish. It was ok, but it definitely could have used more. I picked cod for the fish, which turned out nice and flaky. Not one of my favorite dinners, but not bad!

Ivory Coast
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.celtnet.org.uk)

Poisson Sauce Aubergines (Fish and Eggplant Sauce)

  • 1kg mixed fish fillets
  • 500g aubergines, sliced
  • 300g bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 100g onions, sliced
  • 250ml oil
  • 400g rice, washed and drained
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Method: Heat the oil in a casserole dish. Add the fish and onions, and fry until well browned all over. At this point add the aubergine and bell pepper slices. Season to taste with salt and black pepper then pour over 2l water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to low simmer, cover and cook gently for 60 minutes. Remove the fish and set aside to keep warm. Strain the stock and set aside. Mash the vegetables in the casserole and add enough of the reserved stock to make a sauce. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Pour the remaining stock into the casserole, add the rice, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Serve the fish on a bed of the rice and accompany with the aubergine sauce.


Georgia…

Sunday, December 2 –

This was one of those dinners that went from four people to fifteen people really, really quickly. Good thing I had already picked a recipe that made a lot of food! We had: BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma (lots of wine), Mr. Hero, photo(5)BabyBear, RamblingMan, WingWoman (gluten-free baklava), LightsOn, ChinUp, MyBuddy (lamb stew), DangerD (plates, cups, rum, coke), CreepShow (Chikhirtma – Fresh Coriander-Onion Soup), Kodiak, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ (dumplings), and yours truly (Chanakhi – Braised Lamb).

The dish I made was extremely simple, so I doubled it to accommodate so many guests. I chopped some eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, onion,and green beans and layered them all into different glass baking dishes. Then I spread out chopped lamb meat, salt, pepper, and (of course, even though it wasn’t in the recipe originally) garlic. I changed the water to chicken broth, hoping that would add more flavor and character. Wrapped in aluminum foil they went into the oven at 325* for an hour, and when checked the potatoes weren’t quite done so I did 20 more minutes at 400*.

On the side I also made a tomato and cucumber salad brightened with lemon, mint, salt, and olive oil. I also made a huge pot of rice for something to scoop the juices onto. The table also had a bowl of cilantro to put on whatever people wanted and the dumplings, sauce, stew, and soup. People dished up as much or as little of each thing as they wanted.

The braised lamb that I made wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either. The veggies were pretty good but the lamb was pretty tough and flavorless when it was done. The dumplings were amazing and the sauce on top was incredible. The tomato salad was a perfect bright spot on the plate. The stew was amazing and flavorful and I instantly wanted more. The soup was… well… loud. The flavors of it were amazing but it had been allowed to sit and get stronger for several hours so when we finally got to eat it, it was very intense. The baklava was about as you expect baklava to be (buttery and nutty), just less flaky.

Overall I would count this dinner as a success, but not one of my favorites. I can’t wait for the Germany potluck on Saturday!

Georgiaphoto(4)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.russian.recipes-recipies.com)

Chanakhi, Braised Lamb (Georgian manner)

  • 500 g lamb (1+ lb)
  • 750 g potatoes (1 – 2/3 lb)
  • 200 g tomatoes (2/5 lb)
  • 300 g eggplant (2/3 lb)
  • 200 g string beans (2/5 lb)
  • 1 onion
  • Salt, pepper
  • Parsley or kindza (coriander)

Wash the meat and cut into pieces (2 or 3 per portion). If available, use a 2 or 3 liter stoneware casserole. Add finely chopped onion, chunks of potatoes, tomatoes cut in half, string beans from which the strings have been removed, diced eggplant, parsley greens or kindza. Season with salt and pepper. Add two cupful of water. Cover with a lid and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve in the casserole.


French Guiana…

Thursday, October 25 –

There was a point in time in this project that it was quite often just BestestFianceEver and BestieExtraordinaire and me. I missed it… a lot. Last night it was finally just the three of us over hot food, red wine, and juicy gossip. Could I have asked for more? Nope, I don’t think so.

This meal was just one pot and the rice cooker, with a bunch of dishes to hold the mise-en-place (mise-en-place being all of the little dishes that hold your cut-up veggies and meats before you’re ready to cook) as I set it all up. One eggplant, three small potatoes, one zucchini, six garlic cloves, one habanero, one lemon, four chicken breasts, one onion, and one shallot – that’s what I had chopped up. Yes, it’s a different ratio than what is below, but there were only three of us and there was still too much food left over.

Marinade first, with the shallot, garlic, coriander, vinegar, water, and spices. I couldn’t find “colombo spices” so I just added one teaspoon of each of the spices it says is in the combination, with the exception of ground rice. I used the full amount of garlic, coriander, and vinegar even though I cut the water and most of the veggies in half. Set that aside.

Onions, garlic, habanero, and oil were hot in the pan, cooking until they were softened. I left the seeds in because we are suckers for spicy food, especially on cold, fall days. In next went the chicken, but because I left the onion mixture in the pan the chicken cooked but didn’t get browned. Added next were the eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, lemon juice, the left-over marinade, and sprinkles of the herbs that make up herbes de provence. Then I added the coconut milk, and covered and cooked until the chicken was done, but the potatoes weren’t soft yet! So I had to continue to cook it, which dried the chicken out a little. It was still good to eat, it just wasn’t tender and juicy.

The sauce was spicy, but I felt like it needed more salt and pepper than I originally put in it. We drizzled a little of the remaining coconut milk on top to cool it down a little. Overall I’d give the dish a couple of stars, but it wasn’t terribly amazing.

BestieExtraordinaire brought wine and French Guiana’s typical dessert, mango sorbet. It was a perfect cap to a wonderful evening.

 

French Guiana
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.easy-french-food.com/french-guiana-recipes.html)

Poulet Colombo

  • 1 chicken cut up, or 8 pieces of chicken
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped finely
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed – divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons colombo spices – divided (colombo contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, pepper, cloves, and rice)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, minced finely (more or less to your taste)
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (or 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, rosemary, and basil)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • salt and pepper
  • rice to serve
  • (mango sorbet for dessert)

Make a marinade by mixing the chopped shallot, 4 cloves of crushed garlic, ground coriander, vinegar, water, and 1 tablespoon of the colombo spices in a shallow dish. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and place in marinade, turning to coat thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
After the chicken has marinated (save the marinade), heat the oil in a large and sturdy pot on medium heat. Add the chopped onions, minced hot pepper, and 2 more cloves of crushed garlic. Cook until the onion starts to soften – about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is browned a bit on all sides – about 10 minutes. Add the cubed eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes, the lemon juice, the herbes de Provence (or substitute herbs), and the leftover marinade. Stir to combine well, cover and cook on low medium heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of colombo and stir to combine well. Cover and cook another 15 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is done as you like.

Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with rice.


Congo…

Monday, May 21 –

Of all of the dinners that I have made recently, this one is definitely at the top of my list. I’m pretty sure I could have curled up in the warm, comforting flavors of this dinner and simmered a while myself. It was just my Wonderful Boyfriend and me, so it was a quiet, rainy evening with the smell of curry filling the house.

I got three quarters of a pound of ground lamb to add to this recipe, but it would have been just as good made vegetarian. I also chose to leave out the optional potatoes, but they probably would have been great in this as well.

I browned the ground lamb, then added one diced onion and two diced red medium-heat chilies and let them soften. I sprinkled two teaspoons of curry powder, then some salt, pepper, and cayenne over the top and stirred it all together. In next went chopped ginger (about an inch of root), and one diced, salted, squeezed eggplant. Then I put in two diced on-the-vine tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. On last went just a pinch of sugar and a can of coconut cream. As that simmered for a while I put store-bought naan into the oven to toast.

As I scooped up the curry with the naan and took my first bite, I had to close my eyes to enjoy it. There was spice, sweet, salt, soft eggplant, and browned crispy lamb. Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better dinner.

Congo, “Democratic Republic of the” and “Republic of the”
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://recipes.wikia.com and www.celtnet.org.uk)

Eggplant Curry

  •     2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  •     2 onions, chopped
  •     1-2 tsp curry powder
  •     2 cloves of garlic, minced
  •     1 tsp grated ginger
  •     1-2 hot chile peppers, cleaned and chopped
  •     2 large Eggplants, chopped, lightly salted, and squeezed to partially remove moisture
  •     3-4 potatoes, chopped (optional)
  •     2-3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  •     1 small can or tomato paste (optional)
  •     salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
  •     ¼ tsp Sugar (optional)
  •     1 cup coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute onions for a few minutes, then add curry powder, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Continue frying over high heat for a few more minutes, stirring continuously.
  2. Add Eggplant and potatoes, stir fry until Eggplant begins to brown. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste. Adjust seasoning. Simmer until sauce is thickened and everything is tender.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Serve with boiled rice.

Bulgaria…

Friday, February 10 –

As I sit here trying to think of what to say about this dinner, my mouth is literally watering. Just remembering the smell of the food cooking is making me want to make it again for dinner tonight.

I definitely changed this recipe, but I’m sure it would be good as written too! I only made one eggplant for the four of us (Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, and our new guest, LostBoy) and cut the ingredients down accordingly. I used one shredded carrot, two celery stalks, four roma tomatoes, and two sweet onions. I also used one pound of ground lamb and an entire bulb of garlic. So I started with cooking the lamb, then added the onion and garlic, then the celery and carrot, then the tomatoes, and then topped it off with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. (I know what you’re thinking… “This isn’t really the recipe at all!” And you’d be mostly right. I used the recipe as the base and expanded it to a full entree from there.) I let the mixture simmer down a little while I scooped out the middles of the eggplant. Then I filled it with the lamb and veggie mix, surrounded it with the rest, topped it with a light sprinkle of parmesan, and baked it for 25 minutes. The smell was intoxicating, let me tell you!

On the side I served a small green salad and some fresh sourdough bread. For LostBoy and I, I also made black pepper mushrooms (olive oil, sliced mushrooms, garlic salt, and a half a ton of black pepper – saute until soft). I felt like it needed a little bit extra (the salad and mushrooms) and something to scoop up the yummy juices (the sourdough). Definitely good choices!

The eggplant was firm but well cooked. The lamb and veggie mix was full of flavor with a slight heat-spice because of the red peppers. The salad was a great starter. And the bread was a great way to soak up the juices!

Things I have learned: You can eat eggplant skin! Weird! Of the few ways I’ve ever cooked it the recipes always said to peel them first. So surprise, surprise, you can eat the skin. It definitely changed the flavor a little, but in a good and interesting way. So next time you think to cook eggplant, don’t be afraid to leave the skin on!

Bulgaria
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.findbgfood.com)

Imambayalda (Babaganoush, Stuffed Eggplants)

  • 4 eggplants
  • 6 tomatoes, grated
  • 5 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 celery, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • half a lemon,
  • 1 bay leaf,
  • parsley,
  • peppers,
  • half a cupful sunflower oil,
  • salt

Preparation:  Remove the top of the eggplants and scoop out the soft insides (you should end up having 4 hollow eggplants with half of their meat still on the sides). Heat the oil and cook the onions until golden. Add the carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic and parsley, add the bay leaves and some water and sauté for 5 minutes. Stuff the eggplants with this mixture (you can add some of their meat you scooped out if you don’t have enough ingredients to fill them with), top with a slice of tomato and bake in a 375F oven for 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold.


Afghanistan…

Friday, July 15 –

Simply put, this dinner knocked my socks off. I made the marinade for the chicken and put it in the fridge to soak. Then I moved on to making the sweet potato filling and roasting the eggplant mixture (all of the recipes and where I got them from are on the recipe page). I halved the amount of sweet potato to the amount of herbs and seasonings, the rest of all of the amounts stayed completely the same. I served the eggplant dip and the yogurt sauce in bowls with the sweet potato pockets on the side. Then I served the chicken with rice to go with it all.

We both thought that the chicken was good, but not great. It was good enough that I would make it again, though. The eggplant mixture had a good texture and a good flavor (honestly I liked it better than most of the baba ganoush I’ve had). But the sweet potato pockets with the garlic yogurt sauce, that was simply amazing. My mouth might even be watering just a little right now thinking about them. The combination of sweet potato, cilantro, green onion, and sauce was epic. I made more the next night to go with the left overs of chicken and eggplant, simply because they were the meal’s shining centerpiece.

All in all, this was a very, very good beginning to this project. I have high hopes for learning more fun new recipes and combinations of flavors.

Chicken and marinade

Skewers before cooking

Finished skewers

Eggplant mix after roasting

Finished pockets and dipping sauces

Afghanistan

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.afghancooking.net)

Roasted Eggplant Spread with Garlic Yogurt

  • 1 eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/3- inch slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Yogurt sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and turmeric, turn the heat to low and sauté for a few minutes.  Don’t let the garlic burn.  Add the tomato sauce, coriander, paprika, salt, pepper and broth.  Stir, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Layer the eggplant and pepper slices in a 9×13 inch roasting pan.  Pour the sauce over the vegetables, moving the eggplant and peppers around a bit so they are lightly coated with the sauce.  Set in the oven to bake. After 25 minutes, stir the vegetables around in the pan to coat them with the juices.  Continue to bake another 30 minutes or until the eggplant is very tender.  Transfer the contents of the roasting pan to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Serve warm or cold with Yogurt Sauce spooned over the top and pita bread cut into wedges and toasted.

Yogurt sauce

  • ¾ cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tsp. dried garlic
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients.

Sweet Potato and Cilantro Turnover:  Bolani

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped scallions, white and light green parts
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 6-inch flour tortillas
  • Plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roast the sweet potatoes in the oven until very tender.  The time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes.

Cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh and put it into a medium bowl.  Discard the skin.  Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the sweet potatoes along with the cilantro, scallions, and salt.  Mash with a fork until thoroughly combined.   You can make this ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until ready to use.

In a small dish, mix together the flour and water to make a paste.  Set a tortilla on your work surface and spread ¼ cup of the potato mixture on the tortilla, leaving a half-inch border around the rim.  Using your finger spread a small amount of the paste around the edge of half of the tortilla.  Fold the tortilla over, encasing the potatoes into a half circle.  Press the two sides of the tortillas together firmly to form a tight seal.

Heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Brown the bolani, two at a time, until golden on both sides.  The bolani should sizzle when they hit the pan.   Lay cooked bolani on a paper towel.  These are best served warm but are tasty at room temperature.

Serve with plain yogurt.

Lemony Chicken Kebabs with Turmeric

  • 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice mixed with 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • wooden or metal skewers

Instructions:

Cut chicken into 2-inch chunks and put in a bowl.  Puree remaining ingredients in a food processor.  Pour marinade over the chicken and mix thoroughly.  Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.

Put 4 to 5 pieces of chicken on each skewer.   Grill over a medium flame until done.  Serves 6