Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Slice 'n' Spice

Melenzane Croccante con una Crosta di Farina di Ceci, Riso Saltato + Sugo al Yogurt e "Garam Masala"
Crispy Chick-Pea Crusted Eggplant on Fried Rice + Garam Masala Yogurt Dip

Eggplants are always a bit of a challenge and always a bit of a love 'em or hate 'em affair- and it is precisely the thing that the one person loves about them that the other is going to hate- and that is the soft consistency and mild flavor. So I decided to try a slightly different preparation for my eggplant this evening- and I am here to share it with you!

I am still on a voyage of discovery as far as my chick-pea or garbanzo bean flour is concerned and enjoying experimenting with it. I am a great fan of those paper-thin and oh-so-delicious Indian flatbreads and chapatti's, that I thought that it may be a good idea to try using a thin flour batter to give the eggplants a crisp outer shell... And I thought right!

For the batter, I simply stirred together the chick-pea flour and water until it had a similar consistency to a pancake batter. I added sesame seeds, cumin seeds, ground ginger, cardamom, cayenne, a little lime juice, salt and pepper. I heated up a non-stick frying pan to a moderate temperature and added just enough clarified butter to coat the surface and then dipped a few slices of eggplant into the batter and laid them in the pan. I made the slices nice and thin, so that they wouldn't end up being too moist.  And I resisted the temptation to touch them for a while! But after 2-3 minutes, you will see the edges beginning to brown slightly and that is your cue to flip them over. Fry both sides slowly until they are golden brown- the flour makes a perfect crust, but the eggplant remains juicy and soft on the inside- which gives you the best of both worlds!

I made a light and tasty fried rice to go with the crispy eggplant, out of steamed basmati rice, chopped red peppers, spring onion and assorted herbs and spices. I prepared finely sliced red pepper, finely sliced Spring onion, finely diced fresh ginger, raisins, coriander, parsley and a good pinch of caraway seeds. I started out with the light and fluffy basmati rice and put it into a hot frying pan with a little pat of clarified butter. After 2-3 minutes, I added the rest of the ingredients and stir-fried everything for a further 3-4 minutes until slightly golden-brown.

A simple dip of yogurt and chives, spiced with garam masala and a little sesame oil and lime juice was the finishing touch and dinner was served! Light, tasty, cheap, easy and just plain good food- and those are just 4 of many reasons to love this... I hope that you do!

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