Summer Salads and Vegetables

Middle Eastern aubergine & chickpeas

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Spicy and comforting, this Middle Eastern dish of aubergine with chickpeas is one of my favourite weekday suppers.  The aubergines are fried at a fairly high heat with quite a lot of oil until they become caramelised and sweet.

This dish is a perfect accompaniment to grilled lamb chops but there is also enough to eat on its own with just some flatbread.

This recipe is taken from my first cookbook, In One Pot: Fresh Recipes for Every Occasion, W&N, 2013.

Photo courtesy of Simon Wheeler.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes or 1 tin (400g) tomatoes, chopped
  • 20g mixture of flat-leaf parsley and coriander, roughly chopped
  • yoghurt, to serve
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan with a lid on a high heat.  make sure the oil is really hot before you add the aubergines to prevent too much sticking.  Fry the aubergines quickly, stirring often, so that hey brown evenly all over.
  • Add the onions and a good pinch of salt.  Turn down the heat and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes, or until the onion softens.  The softening of the onion will form the flavoursome base so don’t be tempted to rush this stage.  Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute, so that it begins to brown.  Add the spices and stir well to coat.
  • Stir in the tomatoes to bring everything together.  Continue cookings, covered over a gentle heat until the tomatoes collapse and break down into a sauce.  After about 10 minutes, add the chickpeas.  Continue cooking, covered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, or until all the flavours blend into each other.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Finally stir in the parsley and coriander and allow it to sit for a few minutes before serving.
  • Eat with hot flat breads and a spoonful of cumin and coriander yoghurt, or tahini yoghurt.

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