Nov 2, 2009

Spice stuffed roasted eggplants-- sounds good?-- Read on :)

Halloween was terrible. That is because plans-- a couple of them-- went wrong :( The plan was to watch the movie. ' Paranormal Activity'. You guys seen this one? Okay. Maybe I am a moron lacking any sense in movies or so dumb that I fail to fathom fear. Past experiences though suggest that I am neither. At least that is what I like to believe. This movie is overhyped shit. Trust me. Just thinking of the 15$ that I spent on the movie and popcorn is making me cringe even as I write about that ghostly halloween night :)

Truth be told, there are other reasons for a not-so-good Halloween. For one thing, I did not get to do much cooking. R suggested he would do the honor. Two consecutive days of food gone wrong. One good thing though, it gave us a whole set of things to joke about :)

Enough of drama. Even per my standards :) So will cut the negative talk and let you know the high points.

So yesterday, I walked into my tiffany's and started doing what I enjoy :) I had some small chinese eggplants from the farmer's market I visited a couple of weeks ago. And those are perfect for a dish I adore and had in mind even as I was buying those eggplants. It is one of my mother's signature dishes. And a lot of other people has tried that recipe but never worked up such a charm as much as it did when my mom made it.

Spice stuffed roasted eggplants. How good does that sound ?

It is one good thing that me, and my mom do not share the same guest-list or friends. I would have been in trouble :)

Typically stuffed eggplants-- a speciality of turkey-- involves meat or cheese or spinach. This dish, however, involves stuffing veggies, typically eggplants and okras, with a lovely aromatic spice rub-- slightly charred-- yesss, that is the novelty-- that you can make and also store for future use.

So here is to simple things


5 baby chinese eggplants. These really need the small ones.

1 tbsf coriander powder
1 tbsf cumin powder
1 tbsf crushed dry garlic powder
1/2 tsp of red chili flakes
Salt to taste

2 tbsf olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning

You will also need thread to hold together the eggplant stuffed with spices

Here is how you do it.

Mix all the spices together. In a shallow skillet, dry fry the spices for a minute or so on medium heat, stirring constantly.  I mean constantly. Otherwise the spice will burn. This is like dry roasting the spices over low heat. Will release a ton of aroma once charred slightly. Really a great way to spice up your spices. Take it off the stove and let cool in a bowl.

Meanwhile, wash the eggplants, take off their stalk and slice each one through the middle. So you end up having each eggplant sliced through the middle but held up at the top. Place a thick layer of the roasted spice rub in between each eggplant. Best to place the rub on one half and have the other close over it. Tie firmly by thread. Do the same with each. You can store the remaining spice rub in an airtight container and use it to flavor any dish. Best by sprinkling a bit on top of say roasted potatoes, or a veggie pot roast. Anything. Will be awesome :) A jar sits in my spice cabinet as I write this post.

Typically it is done by shallow frying and then roasting the stuffed eggplant over medium low heat. But given that I cannot babysit food for long, I devised my own way of doing this-- broiling in the oven.

So, now you have a few options here. And all of them give slightly different tastes. This is what I find so good about cooking. You change the method and literally get variants of the same recipe :) So so versatile a hobby! You can never step in the same river twice :) :) :)

Okay okay... back to business

1. Broil:- This is what I do. It requires less baby sitting and a more charred effect to the eggplant.

Place on an oven friendly dish and drizzle with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat your oven to 500 for 10 min. Then broil the eggplants for a good 30-40 minutes, turning once.

2.  Grill:- You can also grill the stuffed eggplants. This will give a smoked flavor to the eggplant. Go for about 20 minutes turning once or twice

3.  Shallow fry:- This would be the way my mom would make it. Will give a bit of fried flavor.

In a shallow skillet, heat 2 tbsf (extra) oil and when hot, place your eggplants in the skillet. Turn down the heat and cover. This will allow slow roasting of the eggplants. Turn every so often so that one side does not burn. Cover intermittently to allow cooking in low heat. Will take ~ 10-15 minutes.

Serve warm.

This can be served as a side dish or can double up as an appetizer. It combines the lovely charred flavor of spices and eggplant. Totally novel, if you ask me.

Pictures by nightfall. Promise :)...and I am good with promises. Here you are !!

Happy eating and healthy living !


Palidor said...

Yah, that sounds so yummy! Coriander and cumin are my two favorite spices. I've never stuffed eggplant with dry fried spices... only with ground meat or fish. Thanks for showing me something new. I can't wait to see the pictures!

lululu said...

oh, the trailer totally got me, i thot it would be a good movie! now i might step back a little.
your eggplant recipe sounds really good with all those spice! I LOVE CUMIN!

Chow and Chatter said...

sounds lovely sorry your halloween wasn;t what wanted

Murasaki Shikibu said...

hmm...I have a big eggplant I need to get rid of soon. I wonder if this would work if I made thin slices of the eggplant and layered it with your spices and baked it in a casserole dish?

The Japanese Redneck said...

I hate going to the movies. Too expensive and too much hassle. Sorry you didn't have a good Halloween.

I love eggplant. Your recipe sounds like it's flavor loaded.


Jhonny walker said...

Murasaki..that will totally work. Good luk and keep me posted :)

Nat said...

I am a HUGE egg plant fan. If I am going vegan...then its always always always either Egg Plant or Mushrooms or BOTH. This sounds lovely.. I love the spices you've used on Egg Plant, and also that its shallow fried, as I find that really releases the wonderful flavor of the egg plant. This is awesome are a GENIUS.

PS: So sorry about the dodgy halloween. Its always nice to see the lighter side of things and have a GOOD laugh though. My hubs and I do that all ze time ! : )

Gina said...

I LOVE EGGPLANT!! I actually just discovered how GREAT it is this year, can you believe it?! I can't believe I have been missing out for so long, crazy.

Erica said...

YUM! I recently discovered my love of eggplant and can't get enough. I love the idea of making it extra spicy too. Sorry the movie stunk....I had heard it was super good! Now I'll save my money until it comes out on DVD!

Jhonny walker said...

Hello all,
I agree with Erica that it would have been sensible to wait for the DVD.

Nat:- thanks for the comment. Helped me improve my post. I did not suggest shallow fry ( like my mother;s original recipe demanded). However I figured its best to give everyone all the thanks thanks a lot!

Taste of Beirut said...

Interesting recipe! It reminds me of some eggplants dishes we make in Lebanon

Erica said...

I love the spices you used in this dish! I am a huge fan of cumin :)

Kim said...

Sorry to hear about the movie. We went to see the vampire's assistant, which was equally awful! The eggplant sounds yummy.

Palidor said...

Mmm, they really good! I much prefer Chinese eggplant over the western variety. I find the former are so much more versatile, and much easier to stuff.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I love eggplants - great spicing going on here, totally delish.