I have often thought that it is possible to mix cuisines, especially with a bit of tweaking. I wanted something to go with my herbed lamb patties (see following post) in addition to the traditional tahini spread. I remembered that I had made a raita with roasted eggplant that I believed would do the trick. After reviewing the recipe, I decided to play with the seasonings a bit to take this Indian condiment and make it a bit more Middle Eastern. The original recipe came from The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two by Anna Thomas. It is a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats or as a dip with pita or other flat bread.
Eggplant Raita Middle Eastern Style
Yield: About 3 cups
1 eggplant (about 1.5 pounds)
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters, if on the larger side
1/4 teaspoon of Aleppo or cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
1.25 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 cups Greek-style yogurt
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Prick the eggplant all over with a fork. Place it on heavy duty foil in a pan large enough to hold that has sides. Roast it in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for 1 hour, turning once. The eggplant should be completely soft and somewhat collapsed. (This can also be done over an open flame, which tastes wonderful but can get very messy.) Allow the eggplant to cool slightly and then slice it in half. Scoop out all of the pulp, removing as many clusters of seeds as you can. Place it over a strainer and allow the juices to drain. Then coarsely chop the pulp.
- Heat the EVOO in a medium skillet and saute the onions until they are translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and continue cooking until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add the eggplant pulp and stir through and remove from the heat.
- Stir the eggplant/onion mixture through the yogurt. Add the lemon juice and pepper and mix well. Taste and adjust your seasonings if necessary. Add the chopped cilantro and mix thoroughly. Allow to chill for at least 1 hour before serving.