Updated: Apr 27, 2019
I’m sharing an old family recipe for eggplant, the one my parents would often cook for us when eggplants were in season. It is one of my favourites out of many favourite eggplant recipes, note: I’m a massive eggplant fan. Every time I cook with eggplant it reminds me of the days when I was still a little girl and how my dad would go to a local Bazar on early Saturday morning and get the freshest groceries.
I remember the smell of ripe tomatoes and the glossy look of dark purple eggplants, the piles of fresh herbs and the capsicums, and how fragrant their smell was. And without a doubt on my visits back home to Baku-Azerbaijan, my first outing usually ends up being a trip to a local Bazar Market where I find myself strolling past the vendors with the shelves of their trucks laden with fruit, fresh vegetables, herbs, spices, delicious cheeses and pickles.
While cooking eggplant is fairly easy, there is a little trick to know; sometimes eggplants have a natural bitterness to them. To get this bitterness out it’s recommended to salt the eggplant and leave it to sweat, then rinse well and squeeze the excess fluid out. That will remove the bitter taste and when cooking it will soak up less oil as it will lose some of its sponginess. I find that the eggplants here in Australia need extra salting time and particularly extra squeezing to remove the excess liquid, otherwise you will end with a pile of eggplant mash!
2 large eggplants diced into cubes or 3 cm long strips 2 tbsp salt 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 medium-sized onion peeled and diced 2 cloves garlic crushed 1 red chilli sliced ( optional ) 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved; cherry tomatoes can be substituted for 3-4 wine ripened medium size tomatoes peeled deseeded and sliced Salt to taste 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley and mint leaves
1 cup plain or Greek style yoghurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves Salt to taste
Place eggplant into a colander and salt it with 2 tbsp of salt and toss well. Leave to sweat for at least 1 hour. Rinse well, drain and squeeze excess fluid out using your hands. Make sure to rinse and squeeze well, so there is minimum salt and liquid left.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 1- 2 minutes or until fragrant.
Add eggplant, stir and cook over a medium heat for 15-20 min, stirring occasionally for eggplant to cook evenly. Do not overcrowd the pan, if there is too much eggplant cook it in two batches and bring it in together when adding tomatoes.
Add the cherry tomatoes and cook over a low heat stirring regularly to ensure the eggplant does not stick to the pan. Once the tomatoes have softened gently pop them with the back of a wooden spoon and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until cooked through then turn the heat off.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve dressed with yoghurt dressing.
Enjoy with fresh bread or as a side dish.