One of the most amazing vegetables and one of my favourite.
Aubergine to northern Europeans / Eggplant to North Americans .. but the Italians call it Melanzana, the Spanish Berenjena, in the Middle East it is known as Al-badinjan, but in Arabic ... in India it is pronounced Baingan.
It is a very old plant believed to come from the birthplace of civilization, Africa I believe and it then spread to the Mediterranean, Persia, Asia, and the world! because of this there are so many recipes with it, every culture has its own ... and I have mine!
In fact I could eat it anyways it is prepared, just make sure it is cooked.
Some facts about aubergine
Aubergine are actually fruit, but that is for people who study botany ... but to me, a fruit is sweet and vegetables are savoury, so I call it a vegetable... and I am sticking to it.
We are most familiar with the large egg shaped purple one but they come in other colours; white, green, with white stripes, and various shapes; small, round and very long ones, some meters long!
The aubergine belongs to the tomato and potato family, which are all nightshades ... and some people believe we should not eat too much of them. What, no potatoes, no tomatoes ... no aubergine? What would I do?
Aubergine can grow to a length of 5 to 6 metres... I did not know that! Never saw anything like that, but if Goggle says it, it must be true.
The Bitter Fruit
In many recipes you are instructed to salt the aubergine and allow it to weep in order to get rid of a bitter taste. Well I never do that. The bitter taste tends to come form old over-ripened fruit, sorry vegetables, better to buy fresh ones.
To check if an aubergine is fresh and ready to eat, press your thumb against it. If your the impression bounces back and disappears, it is fresh.
To cook it, I slice or bake it as is and in fact I even use the skin. Why discard it? I make Babaganoush - an aubergine dip made with garlic, Tahini, salt and olive oil ... and i usually keep the skins... give it that Whole Food Plant Based goodness.
... and here is the recipe from that initial picture !
Aubergine ( Eggplant ) Fritters
With this recipe you get two slices of aubergine sandwiching some tasty mashed potato then battered and fried ... they are so good, you will want two, trust me.
The mashed potato can be infused with some smokey vegan cream cheese or a little smoked paprika or give it a little kick with 1/2 a tsp of wasabi paste
2 large aubergines
1 cup of gram flour ( chickpea flour )
3 or 4 large potatoes
smoked paprika or wasabi paste
a drop of olive oil
Vegetable oil for frying, you want at least 2 cm / 1 inch of oil to be able to deep fry one side at a time.
Cut the aubergine into 10mm / 1/2 inch rounds
Heat a frying pan and add a very light coat of oil, then fry the slices of aubergine. While the one side is frying sprinkle a little salt on the upper facing sides. When golden underneath, a few minutes, flip them over for another minute or two. Check with a fork to see if they are soft through. Fry all the slices, set aside and allow to cool.
Make a batter by adding enough water to the gram flour and a pinch of salt.
Cube the potatoes, no need to remove the skins if they are good organic potatoes, just make sure to wash them well. Boiled them in a little water until soft then mash them well. Add a drop of oil and a pinch of salt and any flavouring you prefer, or none at all, just plain mashed potato is fine.
Cover one slice of aubergine with a thick layer of mashed potato then cover with another slice of aubergine and press lightly together.
Heat you oil, you want it hot.
Taking the aubergine sandwich dip it into the batter then drop gently into the oil. Allow it to brown for a minute, then turn over to brown the other side. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Keep them warming in the oven until you have deep fried all the aubergine fritters.
Serve hot with a red pepper and tomato sauce on a bed of brown rice and some steamed green beans.
Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 red pepper - cubed
- 1/2 onion - finely chopped
- 1 tin of tomatoes 400g
- 1 tbsp of cider vinegar
- a little olive oil
- soften the onion and red pepper in a drop of olive oil
- add the tin of tomato and the cider vinegar and warm it all for a few minutes
- using your trusted potato masher, reduce to a smooth sauce.