Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spice-Roasted Eggplant

As summer winds down and the cooler evenings of fall approach, I start turning on my oven more frequently. This also signals the beginning of my roasting season, especially no-hassle roasted vegetables of all kinds. This eggplant dish is my de-facto “cheating” recipe; one which I always turn to in a pinch—it’s super easy and unfailingly results in a luscious pile of caramelized eggplant goodness.

4 lbs [2kg] Eggplant (cut laterally into ½”-thick slices)
6 tbsp ground Coriander
2 tbsp ground Cumin
3-4 tsp Chilli powder (to taste)
2 tsp Black pepper
2 tsp Asafoetida powder
Salt (to taste)
½ cup Mustard Oil, or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425ºF/220ºC. 
  2. Mix spices and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle spice mixture over eggplant and, using your hands, toss well to mix. Drizzle oil over eggplant and toss again. 
  3. Lay eggplant in one layer on a large baking pan or tray, making sure that the pieces do not overlap. If they do not all fit in one pan, then use a second pan and cook in batches. 
  4. Roast eggplant in the oven for 40 mins, or until golden brown and well caramelised. Halfway through the roasting process, flip the eggplant pieces so both sides are evenly browned. Serve warm.

A note on measurements and temperatures

At the behest of quite a few of my international readers, I’m going to start listing metric measurements in all my recipes alongside the imperial measures. The conversion from imperial to metric will not be numerically exact in all cases—I will round up to the nearest whole figure and adjust quantities to yield the best results. Volume measurements in cups and spoons will stay as-is. I will also list temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, with the Celsius measure rounded to the nearest whole figure.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

North African-Inspired Ground Lamb Stew with Chickpeas, Preserved Lemons and Olives

Tasty Boy loves keema (which is what ground meat is called in Hindi and Bengali). Not a particular keema recipe, but any form of ground meat. So I have 3 to 4 favourite keema recipes that I tend to rotate on a bi-weekly basis and constantly tinker with for variety. I came up with this recipe in a fit of boredom with my existing repertoire. It’s inspired by many of the stewed meat recipes by May Bsisu and Claudia Roden, but doesn’t strictly adhere to either of them. This is a colourful, tangy, one-pot mish-mash of North African and Mediterranean flavours, which beautifully enhance the sweet gamy-ness of lamb, and is perfect by the bowlful, sopped-up with a pillowy mound of couscous or rice.

3 tbsp whole Coriander
1 tbsp whole Cumin
3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Bay leaves
1 large Onion, sliced
2 whole Cinnamon sticks
3 whole Cardamom pods
6 cloves Garlic, roughly smashed
3 Carrots, peeled and chopped into 1”-thick chunks
2 lbs ground Lamb
2 tbsp Harissa powder
1 tsp Chilli powder
1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 lbs canned Chickpeas, drained and thoroughly washed
2 whole Preserved Lemons, cut into quarters
2 cups Olives, whole
Salt (to taste)
1 cup Parsley, roughly chopped
4 cups Water
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. In a large, flat-bottomed pot, dry-roast the cumin and coriander together over high heat for 3-4 mins until golden brown. Remove spices from pot and grind them with a mortar and pestle. Set aside. 
  2. In the same pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bay leaves, onions, cinnamon and cardamom, and gently fry for 4-5 mins until the onions are glossy and translucent. Add garlic and carrots and continue frying for another 5 mins. 
  3. Add ground lamb and cook for 5-7 mins until the lamb has lost its pinkish colour. Then add harissa powder, ground coriander and cumin, chilli powder and black pepper, stir well, and continue cooking for 5 mins. 
  4. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, preserved lemons, olives, salt and parsley and stir well. Add water and bring to a brisk boil, then lower heat, put the lid on the pot, and simmer for 45 mins-1hr, stirring occasionally. If the pot starts to get dry add ½ cup of water at a time, as required. 
  5. Turn off heat and let sit for 15-20 mins. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve over couscous or rice.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer Peas with Caramelised Pearl Onions

This is a quick and super-easy side dish that is a perfect accompaniment to the hearty comfort dishes I’ve been posting lately. Made with in-season, farm-fresh peas and pearl onions, this dish screams “summer.” But it’s just as delicious in the off-season with those handy-dandy bags of frozen veggies.

2 tbsp Butter
1 lb Pearl Onions, peeled
1 lb Peas
[If using frozen peas and onions—defrost, wash and thoroughly dry before cooking]
Salt (to taste)
½ tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
3 tbsp Mint, finely chopped
3 tbsp Parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Heat butter in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and gently sauté for 5-7 mins until golden brown and well caramelized. 
  2. Add peas, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5 mins. 
  3. Add mint, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil, stir well and turn off heat. Let sit for 10 mins before serving.

© Copyright 2012 Shubhani Sarkar