Thursday, 17 November 2011

Recipe - Iranian Stuffed Aubergines with Yellow Rice

The worst thing about cooking dinner for people is who to ask. Especially when you're not doing it for an occasion but really because cooking for several is easier and nicer than it is for one person. It makes it really obvious where you draw social lines in your head since you ask groups which fit together 'logically' for whatever reasons. It can start seeming like a non-invite can seem like a personal slight which is only the correct interpretation very, very rarely. Well, maybe not that rarely: a corollary of spending less time with someone will always be eating with them less. My reasons are mainly based upon food preferences I know people to have. Anyway, two friends were bitching about the fact that I never ask them to dinner anymore. This wasn't because I hate them and was slowly cutting them out but because they're vegetarians and my little experiments often involve meat. So, a vegetarian dish was cooked based loosely on this recipe. This recipe serves 4. As always, spices were all added approximately but I imagine it was about as much as the quantities I've given.
Persian Stuffed Aubergines
2 medium aubergines
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
garlic cloves, chopped

1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp turmeric

1 green pepper, diced finely
60 ml orange juice

1 can cooked chickpeas
100g(ish) dates, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, chopped

135g roasted, salted cashews

1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh coriander, chopped
Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
Half the aubergine. 
Sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil and roast for 35 minutes - until the insides can be scooped out easily.
Fry the onion for a minute in olive oil.
Add the garlic and chilli.

After a couple of minutes, add the spices and fry for another minute.

Add the green pepper and orange juice and cook until the pepper is softened.
Mix the chickpeas, dates and cherry tomatoes in a bowl.
Add to the onion mix. Add the aubergine insides to the onion mix.
Season with salt.

Add the cashews to the onion mix.
Season with lots of black pepper and lemon juice then stir in some fresh coriander.

Fill the hollowed aubergines with the mixture and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Yellow Rice
250g rice

250g lentils

1 heaped tbsp turmeric

Enough water to cover

Fresh coriander

Mix rice, lentils and turmeric in a saucepan.
Add water.

Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, until the rice and lentils are cooked.

Stir through the fresh coriander.
This dish is called 'khichuri' in Bangladesh and I realised that this is where the English kedgeree comes from. I've never seen 'khichuri' with any kind of fish in it in Bangladesh though - usually it's plain and sometimes it has chunks of curried lamb in it. 

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