Eggplants are a vegetable that you need to have an acquired taste for. I realised this recently during a dinner with my friends from the National Museum of Singapore. I was surprised when a vegan friend Christine refused an Eggplant Zucchini Salad claiming that they are slimy and prickish to the tongue. Hmmm...don't entirely agree with you there, Christine. Okra is slimy I agree like what you said but this is the first time I have heard that eggplants are slimy! :) Even my teen girls don't like eggplants. They don't like broccoli either even when I make a chinese stir-fry weekly. But that's a whole new story with teens and their taste buds. Moms with teens will agree on this one.
This recipe is a simple Meditarranean stirfry incorporating the eggplants with celery, tomatoes and onions and served with either hummus, quinoa or brown basmati rice. I happened to have a packet of Tilda ready-made quinoa and brown basmati rice mix (see pic below) from London, purchased during my holiday recently. (Gosh, I miss London. Again, that's another story.) Alternatively, you can make your own quinoa or brown basmati rice but do cook them in veg broth instead of plain water for an added flavor.
Ingredients (for 2-3 servings)
4 tbsps EVOO for grilling eggplants
2 tbsps EVOO for the stew
I big dark purple eggplant roughly 200gm
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 celery stick, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pounded
1 can 400gm tinned tomatoes
2 tbsps capers, rinsed
6-8 olives, rinsed and sliced or left whole
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped roughly
Quinoa & Basmati Rice
1/2 cup tricolor quinoa
1/2 cup brown basmati rice, soaked for 30mins
2.5 cups veg broth (homemade or storebought)
Salt if needed
1) Cut the eggplants into medium chunks and sprinkle some salt over the eggplants to remove the bitter juices. Leave aside for 10 mins.
2) Prepare the other ingredients. Onion, celery and garlic, black olives, capers, coriander leaves and toasted pine nuts and lastly tinned tomatoes.
3) After 10 mins, pour the 4 tbsps EVOO onto a skillet and start grilling the eggplants. Drain on paper towel and keep aside.
4) In the same skillet, add 2 more tbsps EVOO and start frying the onion and garlic.
5) After 2-3 mins, add the sliced celery.
6) After another 3 mins of stirring, add the tinned tomatoes and stir to mix again.
7) Now, add in the capers and olives. Isn't it already looking so so delicious ??
8) Add in the grilled eggplants and season with salt and chilli flakes. Let the stew cook for 10 mins on low heat. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the base of the skillet.
9) Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and basmati rice in veg broth in your rice cooker. I cooked the pre packaged Tilda quinoa and basmati rice mix and it took only 2 mins in microwave. This is how it looks. Don't judge by its blah look - it is really tasty.
10) After 10-12 mins, when the eggplants have stewed well with the rest of the ingredients, switch off the fire. Serve the egg plant stew on a bed of quinoa and brown basmati rice. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and coriander leaves. Serve warm.