Yoghurt dips are an important part of Persian meals. One of my favourites is an eggplant dip with walnuts, topped with yoghurt or kashk – fermented, dried milk whey. Kashk, which can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores, has a pungent, sour cheesy taste when rehydrated; it is unique but you can make an approximation by combining sour cream, crème fraîche or yoghurt with strong cheese such as parmesan or a blue. If you don’t fancy that, just use plain yoghurt.
Recipe Tag: eggplant
These noodles contain so many of my favourite flavours, while the charred flavour of the vegetables adds a lovely smokiness. If preparing the dressing ahead of time, leave out the chopped peanuts until right before serving, so they remain crunchy.
I love a good vege burger and these pattie-less ones are super simple to prepare and packed with so much flavour thanks to the salsa verde. I like my smoky potatoes a little charred and crispy so I give them a double cooking but they are also lovely eaten straight from the foil parcels if you’re not fussed. If you don’t have any preserved lemons for the aioli, use 1-2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice instead. I like to be generous with the haloumi, but at a pinch, you could get away with using just one packet if preferred. This salsa verde recipe will make more than you’ll need for the burgers, but it will store in the fridge for up to a week and is delicious stirred through pasta, spread on sandwiches or dolloped on salads.
Tender garlicky eggplant cooked alongside lemon and bay leaf makes for a lovely plant-based alternative to the more usual fish or chicken. I like to colour them in a pan before finishing off in the oven to ensure the eggplant is meltingly soft. Leave the bay leaves out if you can’t source fresh ones as dried won’t be the same here. If you’re a fried-cheese fan, you could add cubes of haloumi along with the eggplant.
In this simple and elegant barbecue meal, lamb and eggplant are dressed with Greek flavours. The type of lamb you choose will affect cooking times so adjust accordingly. If you have pescatarians to cater for, keep the eggplant and lamb separate and you could always spoon some warm lentils, tossed with olive and lemon, over the plain eggplant to boost the protein.
Nam prik is a classic Thai sauce that works really well with eggplant. Smoking the eggplant adds another dimension of flavour here, but be sure to get the strips in the nam prik as soon as you can while they’re still warm to allow the eggplant to soak up the flavours. This is a good dish warm or cool, and I like it with rice and a side of grilled fish, as pictured at right.