I’ve made these filled mini-eggplants once before I tried again for our guests last night. Typically me, – to make something for our guests, which I have not really done before. Perhaps based on the philosophy that I am not entirely responsible for how the outcome will be if I haven’t tried it before 😀
But they were okay yesterday, even though they wasn’t perfect (they was the first time I made them). It was because of my own forgetfulness, so I dare to post this recipe anyway. For these little bandits are just super good. As in really good. And then I really think it’s so nice with a vegetarian dish once in a while (not a word about how modern it is to be an flexitarian). We have been doing this for many years though before the word was even invented.
Meat and Environment:
It’s not because we don’t like meat at home – because we do. It’s very easy compared to the Turkish cuisine to cook tasty vegetables- or dishes with lentils and beans. And yes, I also think that it’s a good idea to help the environment a bit by saving a little on the meat (and I do not think it’s healthy for the body always to digest meat?) .
But the stuffed mini aubergines are good in themselves. Last night we had a visit of our lovely friends (fortunately, they’re pretty fresh at all the more or less strange food I present them). And I know they love vegetables and beans like us.
Meze and Tapas – I love it:
We had decided, that we wanted tapas (those little Spanish dishes with sausage, cheese, olives and various delicious stuff). In fact, tapas reminds a lot about the Turkish meze – a lot of small delicious dishes that you can sit and eat and snack for the whole evening. Meze consists of many things and many dishes, so it’s hard to give a clear overview (but a bid for some recipes can be seen here). But why not combine Spanish and Turkish?
And so we did – and you know what? It was pretty good. But ok, I actually did not expect anything else either. Different kinds of sausages, pesto of sun-dried tomatoes, Haydari (fatadip with grilled red pebre), black olives, eggplant with youghurt and garlic, different cheeses, Tekirdag köftesi (all the kids loved them including the one child that wasn’t used to them ), vegetable, flute, small crostini with different flavors and then these filled mini aubergines with onions, garlic and tomato. Yes, that was it. Uhmmm …
And then an admission:
Well, but have you noticed that I wrote a little further up, that the filled mini eggplants did not get as good yesterday as the first time I made them. And that alone was due to my forgetfulness. .. Ehh em .. yes. I forgot some of the most important things listed on page 1. in the textbook. Time and care. And then 1 spoonful of sugar.
I have to say to my defense, that I had had too many nightshifts and a little to little sleeping. As if it’s an excuse not to make proper food! So, the bulbs did not get well caramelized properly before the other things came in, and then there was the thing with the lacking sugar. And yes adding sugar may not seem to be so much in the cooking, but it’s a great flavor (just check the sugar content of your ketchup the next time you use it). And so it highlights many of the existing flavors.
Sugar and bitter substances:
And, in almost any kind of Turkish food, you’re not pale to use a ripe sugar. Something I really try to avoid. But in this case, it is quite important because of the bitter substances of the eggplants. Some of the sweetness can be picked up just by caramelizing the onions a little before you get the tomatoes and the garlics in. And it also helps to have as fresh eggplants as possible. My where … should we say a little “lukewarm” (it was a wonder that I even could find the ones I needed). Unless they are fresh, they contain only more bitter substances than normal. And let’s be clear. You need to go to an ethnic grocery store, if you’re going to grab the small fine mini eggplants, like these ones. Supermarkets do not have them.
So, if you do your homework properly, you get the most amazing results. I promise!!
So whether you need tapas, meze, a slightly different dish for lunch or want to use mini aubergines as a main course, they fit in. Simply just because they are lovely and tasty .. and quite so beautiful.
Stuffed eggplants is a pure vegetarian dish, but can be used in turkish meze as for lunch or dinner
- 10 small mini eggplants
- 4 tomatoes, chopped in small cubes
- 2 medium onions, cut lengthwise
- 5 cloves of garlic, cut in thin pieces
- 1 handfull italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 6-7 tbsp water
- - oil for frying
1: Rinse the eggplants and cut a little of the stem
2: Heat the pan with a bit of olive oil. When the oil is warm, fry the eggplants until they are slightly wrinkled and soft. Be careful not to completely turn up the heat. They will burn quickly. Lay them on an old newspaper or kitchen paper afterwards, so that the excess oil gets sucked up
3: While the eggplants roast, you can cut the onions and tomatoes
4: Stir the onions in a spoonful of olive oil (from the pan with the aubergines) on a low flare, so the onions will caramelize a little. They should not be brown, just have a little color
5: Add garlic and simmer for a second and then add the tomatoes. Step / cook until the liquid is absorbed
6: Remove the pan from the hob and mix the chopped parsley into the filling
7: Now the eggplants would have a temperature, so you can make a fine cut in them (without cutting through) and open them a little, so that the filling can come in
8: Put about 1½ tablespoon of filling in the eggplant (it varies slightly after the size) and put them in an ovenproof dish
9: Dissolve the sugar in the water and pour gently over the eggplant. Then sprinkle with some salt
10: Bake the mini eggplants in a 180 degree hot oven for about 15 minutes
- You can easily prepare the aubergines in the morning or the day before serving them, and then store them in the fridge. They only win in taste. Just gibe them 5 minutes extra in the oven if the aubergines are cold from the fridge.
If you like, you can replace one onion and 2 tomatoes with about 200 grams of minced meat (like mixed veal / lamb). It will also be super good.
Find as fresh eggplants as possible and remember the sugar !!
This dish is meant as lunch for 2-3 persons. If you use it for dinner, you may need 2 extra eggplants depending on what you serve on the side eg salad and bread. If you, like me, use it as meze / tapas, then 1 (or 1½ depending on size) per person is plentiful.