Aubergines are one of my favourite vegetables. You might know them as eggplant or brinjal. I’ve called them aubergine ever since my time working at Cape Town’s Aubergine – the restaurant. Even though they are beautiful to look at, they must rank as one of the most hated veggies around and I think that stems from the fact that they are often served under-cooked and hideously dry.
These bulbous-shaped veggies have the most glorious deep purple amethyst colour that looks beautiful on a plate, contrasted with either green or white. I love to cook the baby variety by simply roasting them in the oven with loads of olive oil until they are soft and the insides are rich and creamy. The large ones are great for cooking in robust curries and using as a vessel to hold other ingredients like these aubergine wraps with Mozzarella, tomato and pesto.
If you go to your local food market or grocery store when they are in season (late Summer), you’re sure to be greeted with a beautiful selection of shiny, ripe aubs, just waiting to be transformed into something scrumptious. The nice thing is that they’re usually cheaper then too, which means you save a buck or two.
One of the most important things to remember when buying aubergine is that you shouldn’t store them in the fridge. They hate it! Especially if you place them close to other fruits and veggies as they are sensitive to ethylene (a chemical that’s emitted by fruits). The low temperatures also damage their skin and flavour.
Nowadays with the modern varieties, you also don’t need to salt your aubergines before cooking. This used to done to extract the bitterness in them, a process called degorge.
Before you say, “this is a vegetable I will never eat again after that one time...”, I urge you to dive into one (or more!) of the recipes below. You’ll be an aubergine aficionado in no time!
1. Mauritian prawn and aubergine curry – mingled with zingy ginger and lime flavours.
2. Brown rice salad with baby aubergine, ginger and almonds – enjoy this as a side dish or a vegetarian main meal.
3. Aubergine paté with honey and cumin – try this exotic North African dip with crudites and crackers.
4. Carb-free aubergine “pizza”- perfect for Banters.
5. Homemade falafel with grilled aubergine – For a real Middle Eastern feast, serve these with loads of hummus and tzatziki.
6. Moroccan lamb and aubergine tagine – a rich, meaty stew with glorious flavours of garlic and tomato. Great for chilly weather!
7. Roasted aubergine and feta fritters – these tasty morsels are perfect for a light lunch or dinner.
To receive quick and convenient weekday recipes, join our Easy Weekday Meals mailing list, and for up-to-date trending food, restaurant and wine news subscribe to our Editor’s Weekly newsletter.
- Tessa Purdon