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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chermoula Eggplant Two Ways


After the kids arrived, stealing 10 minutes alone, sipping my tea and poring over the pictures in cookbooks just for the pleasure of it, has become somewhat of a challenge (and a secret indulgence when I can manage it).

I have very few cookbooks at home despite the fact that I love to cook. Being more of an intuitive cook with a passion for experimenting with cuisines from around the world, I rarely follow a recipe to the letter, opting to be daring (or foolish) with the spice combinations and ethnic ingredients. This is a boon and a curse as Mr. Monk would say.

Baking fails miserably when I take Epicurean licences with the tried-and-tested recipes, but, many other interesting dishes have come out of this incurable urge to deviate from the prescribed that it has been worthwhile.

It is no secret that I love eggplant, and it is quite possibly  the most showcased fruit here at Delectable Victuals.

Many dishes were inspired by Greg and Lucy Malouf's Moorish which I have shared here before.

Here is yet another eggplant dish with North African flavors, cooked two ways:

  1. Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi's Chermoula Aubergine (as the main course)
  2. Inspired by Greg and Lucy Malouf's Eggplant and Feta Stir-fry (as a side dish)


As I had some preserved lemons handy, I did take liberties with the Chermoula formula.





Chermoula
1 Tbsp cumin powder
2 Tbsp coriander powder
2 Tbsp sweet paprika powder
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 to 6 dry red chilies (I used the dry Thai chilies from home-garden)
1 wedge of preserved lemon (optional)
4 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and grind to a smooth paste. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 months.

For the Chermoula Aubergine à la Ottolenghi

I followed the recipe as close as I can, except of course, I used the chermoula paste as above. It might be a sacrilege in some books to tamper with a master's recipe. But, as all fantastic cooks say, adapt and personalize recipes to your taste.


For the bulghur, since I am not fond of raisins/sultanas, I used dried cranberries; used walnuts along with almonds; used chopped celery leaves and dried mint for flavoring; plus finely chopped jalapenos (seeded).


For the Chermoula Eggplant Stir-fry



1 large globe or black beauty eggplant cut into even-sized chunks
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 to 6 tablespoons of chermoula paste
salt to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup diced feta (or crumble on top if preferred)

Preparation

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold the eggplant in a single layer; add the onions and saute till soft
  2. Add half the chermoula paste and stir-fry till aromatic; bring the onions plus chermoula to the center of the pan to make room for eggplant
  3. Add the eggplant chunks around the sides, sprinkle some salt, add the rest of the chermoula paste, cover and cook till eggplant is done, stirring once in a while to ensure even cooking
  4. Off heat fold in the feta, or crumble it on top; serve warm with flat breads like naan or paratha; or with fragrant rice and tzaziki on the side

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4 Comments:

  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger Priya said…

    Chermoula eggplant looks stunning..

     
  • At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Sue said…

    I am going to try the Chermoula. Yumm

     
  • At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Sue said…

    So I made the Chermoula and used it on butternut squash and roasted it - was super!

     
  • At 1:09 PM, Blogger MyGrahak said…

    I like the way you described yourself and your work. I am too an avid food lover, but may not be as good as you. I like shopping for ingredients and I keep experimenting with variants and combinations. This is what keeps me busy. Love your posts.

    Divya Bhaskar
    MyGrahak.com

     

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