This time we invite you to try recipes involving eggplant, or, as they are known in British
The simplest of
recipes is eggplant puree, which, for reasons unknown, is called 'eggplant
salad' in Romanian. Pick a few medium sized eggplants and get ready a thin
metal plate to set over the fire. Roast the eggplants, turning regularly to
When they are
cooked through, leave to drain to get rid of the bitter, dark juice. Carefully
take out the pulp and mash into a paste. Be careful to use either a wooden
instrument or a stainless steel knife, because the eggplant makes a chemical
reaction with non-stainless steel, which ruins the dish. Mix in a bit of oil,
salt to taste and a finely chopped onion.
It is usually
spread on bread, but you can also use carrot or celery sticks, as well as
bread-sticks. The recipe came to Romania from the Middle East via the Ottoman
Empire, but in the original Turkish recipe, garlic is used instead of onion. One
variation, which is considered to be North African in origin, is to mix in
slices of roasted red or bell pepper.
That recipe also
goes well with roasted and crushed cumin, and if you prefer hotter food, you
can also mix in fresh or dried hot pepper. It is usually served with slices of
tomato. One typical Middle Eastern dish based on eggplant puree is baba
ganoush, in which humus is mixed into the paste, humus being the chickpea puree
that is eaten at almost every meal from North Africa to India.