Friday, 4 July 2014


Melanzane in Umido con Tamarinde & Bulgur Turco SpeziatoEggplant Stewed with Turkish Bulgur, Tamarind & Spices 

You might look at this dish and think "Oooh! How exotic!" And you may well be right! But if you think that means it is difficult to make... Well then, you would be wrong! Because it is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat

The main star of this dish is wonderful, Turkish bulgur, which is coarse grained and has tiny, toasted, vermicelli noodles mixed into it to add a rich and nutty flavor and great texture... I am hooked already!

Another great ingredient is tamarind paste, which may be a little exotic but is also very inexpensive at the ethnic supermarkets. The spices I used were chorba, which is a blend of turmeric, oregano, cloves, coriander, pepper and nutmeg and for a tangy twist at the end, some ground sumac which I really love and which always lifts the flavors of such oriental dishes so nicely.

To make one nice, large bowlful of yummy food, I used 2 small eggplants, 1 Spring onion, 1 sweet Turkish pepper, about 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste, 1 1/2 cuff ills of Turkish bulgur, chorba, sumac, fresh peppercorns and parsley.

Lots of great flavors here in a wonderful combination, but kept practically fat-free and nice and light to eat and enjoy with no regrets... Go ahead and have a little bit more!

Most recipes using tamarind paste tell you to pour boiling water over it until it softens, to squash it down and squeeze it through a sieve and then to use the juices basically.... Ha! What I prefer to do is to take the time to fetch out and stones and discard them. This takes a short while and is a little sticky and messy... But that's ok!

I coarsely chopped the eggplant, finely sliced the onion and pepper and plucked the little fresh peppercorns from stem... Easy!

Rather than frying the eggplant, being as I knew I would be "stewing" it more or less and would be adding water in just a while, I opted to start off by dry-frying it in a non stick pan along with the pepper, peppercorns, onion and tamarind paste at a moderate heat for 4-5 minutes.

I then added about 2 teaspoons of chorba, topped up the water until everything was "just submerged" and let is bubble away for a couple more minutes.

I then added the bulgur, stirred it in well, along with the sumac which would be adding right at the very end. I turned the heat down low, popped a lid on top and let everything steam together gently for the next 5-10 minutes.

And after that time, the bulgur was tender, the vermicelli noodles were "nicely-done" and not overlooked... And the kitchen was filled with the most wonderful aroma... Mmmh!

And there it is, a whole lot easier to make than it looks, wouldn't you say?

And of course the only 2 ingredients that have not been added yet get their chance too! - nice sprinkle of finely chopped parsley and the wonderfully tangy sumac!

And if you manage to resist that, you are a better man than I! Or a better gal for that matter, haha! Which doesn't take much doing!

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