This is what I love about cooking. Picking up one type of vegetable and making it the star of the show!
While browsing the produce department and basically getting the same veggies week after week, I picked up three ‘Indian baby eggplants’ and quite delightfully, they changed my whole direction and theme for cooking this evening. I don’t have a lot of experience with using eggplant, but decided on an Indian dish for their wonderful aromatic spices they use daily. With left over tomato sauce, that was my basis for this dish.
Indian spices and herbs have such wonderful flavours so I settled on this ‘soul warming creation’. I guess this dish could be considered my variation of “Bharva Baingan’ by Indian cooking standards.
*** Disclaimer*** – I prepared and cooked this dish ‘free style’ for the first time, which means, ‘a bit of this and dash of that, a squeeze of this and more of that’. I am sure you get the idea! Measures are to the best of my ability after the fact. Feel free use your own gauge for measures.
3 baby Indian eggplants
1 small zucchini
3 medium sized green onions
1 medium jar of chunky tomato sauce
10 small cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds mixed
2 tbsps. sesame seeds
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup virgin oil
1/2 cup red wine
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp cumin
1-2 tbsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black ground pepper
Squeeze of one fresh lemon
Begin by slicing the eggplants in quarters from the bottom to just before you reach the stem. Open slightly with your fingers. Heat in a frying pan, virgin oil until not and add the eggplants, then sprinkle with sea salt and fry until slightly blistered. Remove and set aside.
Place on a cookie sheet, organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Add sea salt and virgin oil ( or coconut oil ) and toss until all are covered. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 until browned and popping. Remove and place on a paper towel covered plate to remove excess oil.
In a small mixing bowl add the dry ingredients, panko bread crumbs and dry spices. On a cutting board, finely chop the seeds and add to the bowl. Add two tbsp. oil and mix together, binding the stuffing. Dice the onion and garlic. Cube the zucchini in larger pieces and slice the green bulb onions in half.
In a frying pan, heat a small amount of oil, add garlic, red onion and and long green onion halves. Heat for a few minutes, then add the tomato sauce, red wine and continue to simmer the sauce. During this time, open the quartered ends of the eggplant and stuff each one with the panko seed stuffing, then place upright into the tomato sauce. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and zucchini around the eggplants, then add the sprigs of time. ( you can also use chopped nuts if you desire – I didn’t have any at the time )
Top with sesame seeds and cover, simmering for 20-30 minutes. Check occasionally and add water to the sauce if necessary.
Serve over a bed of white rice.