Wednesday, 5 August 2015

roasted aubergines with garlic & soy

Did I ever tell you that I love aubergines? No? Well here goes. It's one of my favourite vegetables - even though technically it’s a fruit/berry. I was out shopping for groceries a couple of days ago and passed by the fruit and veg stalls in my local market square and could not bypass the arresting array of fresh produce. I told myself that I'd have a teensy little browse - perhaps buy a pomegranate but the pomegranates weren't as pretty as I'd wanted them to be (fruit snob alert!) By the time I'd finished admiring the entire parameter of one particular stall I realised that I'd forgone my shopping list and was armed with a couple of mangoes, fresh herbs and gorgeous deep amethyst coloured aubergines.
Aubergines are so versatile and equally delicious in various cuisines, whether it’s a ratatouille, Thai curry or baba ganoush. If you're vegetarian or having a meat free day it's also quite substantial. My mum usually cooks aubergine shredded and sautéed with onions, chilli and coriander. This mildly spiced Bengali dish is called niramisha or niramish and is typically served as a side dish during mealtimes. I can’t even attempt to replicate that dish (mainly because I can’t shred the aubergine into superfine strips). 

Honestly, I don’t know how Bengali mothers do that. And often it’s with a Dha – a large curved knife type kitchen apparatus, usually placed on the floor and facing the user who sits of a low stool to slice various herbs and vegetables. I’ve probably explained it very badly but it’s a handy tool if you like your veggies superfine and don’t want to use a food processor! Also did I forget to mention that you need to not be clumsy, have good balance and if you’re ambidextrous it’s a bonus? Seeing I’m none of those things, I’ve stuck to my trusty kitchen knife and brought you a slightly different but very yummy alternative. J


I've chosen to roast my aubergines with an oriental dressing, both sweet and hot. The criss cross effect on the flesh helps create a lovely even browning, and acts as little pockets for the dressing. I like this dish as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, but it's also great with steamed rice and fish and most importantly it's such an easy recipe. Great for a week-night meal, as you can prepare it in advance the night before and pop in the oven when you get home. This is definitely one to forget about for a half hour or so while you wind down for the evening. 

For information on the amazing health benefits of aubergine, or eggplant as they call it across the pond, I've linked up with the fab Helen at Well-Being Secrets. You can read all about it here!


Ingredients
2 medium aubergines
4 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt (plus more for sprinkling)
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 finger chilli, finely chopped
1 tbs chopped coriander (plus more for garnish)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Method
Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200c/180c fan.

Slice each aubergine lengthways into four pieces and score the surface of the flesh with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle salt on the surface of each slice to help draw out excess moisture and leave to the side in a baking dish.

In a small bowl prepare the dressing. Mix the salt, pepper, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, brown sugar, chilli and coriander.

Pour the dressing over the aubergine slices and ensure that each slice is covered completely. If you have time leave this to sit for about 30 minutes.

Bake 30-35 mins until golden on top and tender. 

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