Tandoori-Spiced Mini Eggplant & Chickpeas
One of my "pet-peeves" when it comes to cooking, is the notion that certain spices or ingredients can, or should, only be used in certain ways or in certain dishes, because they are otherwise not "authentic"... Aaaargh! Really? So you can only use a good Hungarian paprika powder to make gulasch with, right? I don't THINK so!
But the spice I was interested in this evening was Tandoori spice and the dish I made with it wasn't Indian. It was just MY creation, ok? And it tasted pretty damned good, even if I do say so myself! So there!
Quick, easy and healthy as well as tasting terrific, this dish of adorable little baby eggplants, chickpeas and a few extras makes a great Summer side dish or light meal. It is just exotic enough to raise an eyebrow and delicious enough to put a smile on your face... and even to win-over those people who are neither fans of eggplant or chickpeas.
Chickpeas can tend to seem a little dry and mealy to some people- just as eggplant can seem a little too soft and squashy. Best solution? Combine them in a dish together... add fresh herbs, spice, tomato and a hint of citrus and you have a winner, right there!
For this dish you are going to need 1 can of chickpeas, 1 small carrot, 1 stick of celery, 1 Spring onion, 3 baby eggplants, 1" of ginger, lemon juice and zest, fresh parsley and of course, tandoori powder.
Looks complicated to make, doesn't it? The truth is, it is anything but! And that's a good thing! The other good thing is... you will be finished and ready to eat in just 15 minutes or so! What do you think about that?
Very simple prep-work here... peel and thinly slice the carrot, slice the celery and eggplant nice and thinly too and finely dice the ginger... that's all there is to it!
Pop the carrot, celery and eggplant slices into a dry frying pan, with the diced ginger, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss them around a little until the celery and eggplant start to create a little steam of their own, THEN add a little olive oil and fry until things begin to get dark around the edges. This will take 4-5 minutes at a nice high heat.
Next, add the chick peas, the finely sliced Spring onion and about 1 teaspoon of tandoori spice. Stir them in, fry them together for 2-3 minutes and then add the juice of half a lemon.
Serve the finished eggplant and chickpeas with a light drizzle of honey, a few drops of sesame oil and the cherry tomatoes, finely chopped and raw on top to add some juicy, fruity, freshness.
Garnish with a nice scattering of coarsely chopped parsley and finely shredded lemon zest- and how lovely does that look? It's a pity you can't smell how good it is too!
Rich, spicy, flavorful and yet light and sooo delicious! What's not to love?!?! Enjoy!