Monday, 9 June 2014

Everyday Exotic!

Melanzane Arrostiti con Yogurt/Erbe , Spinaci Vietnamese & Couscous
Roasted Eggplant with Herb Yogurt, Vietnamese Spinach & Couscous


A little exotic looking, but totally simple to make, this made for a very light and yet satisfying Summer supper this evening.

the only unusual ingredient in this dish was the Vietnamese or "amaranth" spinach- which although it looks a little prettier with its wonderful purple-red-centered leaves, is not really all that different to regular spinach... so you can feel free to use exactly that if you try to make this for yourselves.


Probably my favorite part of this dish was the eggplant though, which was quite simply baked until golden brown, with nothing added, other than salt it was sprinkled with to prepare it.

The result of this, is that it has a rich and intense flavor of its own, but also that it practically soaks up flavors like a sponge- making it into a perfect carrier for more great flavors to come!


So to make this wonderful meal, I used 1 eggplant, 1 Spring onion, 1 cup of couscous, about 1" of ginger, a handful each of raisins and pine nuts, some fresh mint, cilantro and the juice of a lime.

One thing I am always very proud of when it comes to cooking, is the way I try to keep the fat low and the flavors strong and delicious... and more often than not- the results are RATHER good! Like this time, here!


Start off by cutting the eggplant into finger-thick slices and sprinkling them with salt. Allow the eggplant to stand lose some of its bitterness for 10-15 minutes whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients for cooking.


Before starting on the spinach, toast the pine nuts and set them to one side for later. Then, pull the leaves of the spinach off the tough stalks and rinse them, chop the Spring onion up coarsely and the ginger finely.


To prepare the spinach, begin by frying the ginger in just a touch of oil for 2-3minutes until it becomes a little golden colored. In the meantime, chop up the Spring onion, add it to the ginger and sauteée until it becomes mildly transparent, then add the spinach and a little olive oil and toss that together until the leaves wilt, then add the juice of half a lime and set to one side for later...


Prepare the couscous in the usual manner, by pouring boiling water over it and letting it stand for 10 minutes, then add half of the roasted pine nuts, a handful of raisins, plenty of finely chopped mint and cilantro, the juice of the other half of lime and a nice splash of olive oil.


To prepare the eggplant, simply bake 200°C for 10-15 minutes from either side until it becomes light and golden brown... as simple as that!


So at this point, we have tasty couscous, which we can press into a small bowl and then turn-out onto our serving platter, a nice, light, sautéed spinach side dish and the roasted peppers... all we need now to make things delicious is that nice yogurt dressing to go over the eggplant.

I made the dressing from plenty of finely chopped mint and cilantro, which I added to the yogurt with more lime juice, a little salt and little olive oil... stir this mixture together and you are ready to go!


 That eggplant is really yummy... but it is in need of some extra flavor...


Spoon plenty of the dressing over the eggplant and then add a nice generous pinch of Turkish "pul biber" hot peppers- and now you are ready to really enjoy it!


What you are looking at here is a perfect plate of tasty Summer food... go grab yourself a fork and enjoy!


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