Ras el Hanout-Spiced Eggplant, Pumpkin, Red Pepper & Raisins with Mint & Yogurt
A spicy little improvisation this evening, filled with Eastern promise, as they say... or at least with the promise of a lot of great flavor!
Eggplant and pepper was all it was going to be... but then I thought that I would add the last piece of left-over pumpkin as well- and thinking, why stop at that? I added some raisins and spice to make it into something just a bit more exciting!
Basically, this is more of a lukewarm salad than anything else- a great side dish for an Autumn or Winter meal and a real alternative to the usual eggplant dishes. This had a combination of Arabic and Indian spices, as I added Tandoori spice to the yogurt before mixing everything together. And I have to say that the combination of the spices, yogurt and sweet raisins was just perfect!
1 eggplant, 1 small red pepper, 1 small piece of Hokkaido pumpkin. 1 Spring onion, 1-2 cupfuls of plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon of Ras el Hanout, 1 teaspoon of Tandoori spice, 1 handful of raisins, a little basil and a lot of mint- those were my ingredients! And this is what I did with them...
You could look at this as a kind of spice and alternative caponata- a great eggplant appetizer or side dish that is full of color and flavor- great on its own- or equally good as a side dish to chicken or meat skewers for example- but I can think of so many more things this would work well with- and you will too as soon as you have tried it!
Cut the pumpkin, peppers and onion up into relatively small pieces and cut the eggplant into pieces that are maybe twice the size to compensate for the fact that it will shrink during cooking. So basically, have equal amounts of the pepper, pumpkin and onion and twice as much eggplant.
Simply fry all of the ingredients together at the same time in a little olive oil, stirring constantly, until things begin looking toasty and brown. Once the eggplant is nice and soft, it is time to start making things fun and delicious!
Season with salt, pepper, the ras el hanout and tiny pinch of sugar, then add the raisins and stir in well. The reason to add the spices at the end is that they would otherwise have burned and become bitter if they had been added too early.
Once everything is nicely coated, give it a last couple of minutes of heat before setting it to one side to cool off a little before adding the yogurt, basil and mint.
Add a good drizzle of yogurt, a nice sprinkle of tandoori spice and plenty of mint... and doesn't that just look amazing!?!
Stir together gently and see how the yogurt soaks up the spices coating the vegetables and transforms into a lovely sauce or dressing.
Add plenty of mint- don't be shy or hold back! A good couple of handfuls will soon become well-incorporated and will bring the flavor of the spices to life!
Not just colorful, not just spicy- but nicely harmonious in its sweetness and spiciness- and another great idea for preparing eggplant that you will grow to love... at least I hope you will! Because I did for sure- a whole lot more than I hoped I would too!