I have a lot of friends who are vegetarians and many who aren’t vegetarians, so whenever I have them over for a meal, I try to ensure that the vegetarian dishes are as attractive as the meat dishes. Well, let’s say that I try. Today’s recipe has no particular name because I just made it up as I went along. It turned out to be a winner with both sets of friends, so I thought I’d share it with you.
I generally don’t use canned beans or peas, it’s a taste preference thing but in this recipe I used canned chickpeas
to cut down on cook-time. However, if you have the time I want to pre-cook the chickpeas, do so and reserve some of the cooking liquid.
The fresh basil and sesame oil that is added almost at the end of the cooking adds wonderful flavour.
● 3 tablespoons oil
● 1 cup finely chopped onions
● 2 cloves garlic, crushed
● 1 cup chopped tomatoes
● 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely minced
● Salt to taste
● 1 large hot pepper split in half but with stem intact (or crushed wiri wiri peppers)
● 1 pound eggplant/baigan cut into large chunks (peeling is optional)
● 2 x 14/15 oz. cans chick peas drained, reserve liquid
● 2 sprigs torn basil leaves (leave whole if the leaves are small)
● 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1. Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat until very hot but not smoking.
2. Add onions, reduce heat and cook until translucent and softened.
3. Add tomatoes, garlic, thyme, pepper and salt to taste; raise heat and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggplant and chick peas, toss to mix with the aromatics and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes. Season with salt (remember that the chick peas will already be salted).
5. Add just enough of the reserved liquid to cook the eggplant and heat through the chickpeas. You don’t want it to be soupy or watery.
6. Cover the pan cook on medium heat until the eggplant is soft and fully cooked.
7. A couple of minutes before the dish is finished cooking stir in the basil and sesame oil. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat and serve immediately with rice, roti, bread, or ground provisions.