I had a favorite cousin once whom whenever I visited would bring me breakfast each morning. He was very involved in the healthy eating culture and every breakfast had to include at least one organic food. He also loved eggplants so much that even if we ate it everyday I was at his place, it would taste very different yet delicious. Though we are no longer close, I immediately think of him when I see eggplants and yesterday I happened to go to the market and chanced upon the most lovely looking eggplants. I knew I had to buy them immediately I saw them and even though this recipe is very different from what my cousin used to make, the inspiration behind it is all him.
Initially, I was going to top the grilled eggplant with just yoghurt but then I had this brilliant idea to smoke it to add another dimension of flavor. If you don't own a smoke gun like me, follow my directions to get the smoky flavor. If you're confused about the smoking process, I will upload a short video to my insta story/highlights.
Recipe 6 Servings
what you need
1 ginormous eggplant, cut into 6 1- inch slices
1 teaspoon spice mix (must contain at least 2 of these; dried cumin, dried rosemary, dried fennel, dried mint dried thyme, dried parsley and dried oregano)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small chili, finely diced.
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (reserve the rest)
Smoked Yoghurt Sauce
3/4 cup greek yoghurt
20 mint leaves , diced + extra for serving
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest + extra for serving
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pistachios
*use any type of nuts you prefer
*honey for serving
For the smoked yoghurt sauce, use a smoking gun if you own one otherwise follow my directions. If you're confused about the smoking process, I will upload a short video ton my insta story/highlights.
Combine the spice mix, diced chili, sugar, olive oil, salt and lemon juice to form a marinade. Taste and adjust salt. Meanwhile score the surface of the eggplant so marinade can really seep through. Rub the marinade into the eggplant to fully coat it. Grill each side in a hot grill pan for 3 mins each or until soft to touch then set aside in a warm oven for later.
For the smoked yoghurt sauce, heat charcoal (1 tiny piece is all you need) on fire until very hot. Meanwhile , pour the yoghurt into a heat proof bowl and put a tiny heat proof bowl gently on top of the yoghurt. Place a small piece foil in the smaller bowl then put the heated coal on it. Pour a teaspoon of fat on the hot coal and immediately cover the bigger bowl (whilst the small bowl is still in it ) with foil. To hold the foil in place so as to trap the smoke, cover the whole bowl tightly with a cling film and allow the smoke to infuse for 3 mins. Remove cling film and foil after 3 mins and add the diced mint. Stir, taste and add the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
For the roasted nuts topping, wash the almonds, then slice length wise to reduce the cooking time. Mix the almonds and pistachios and add a pinch of salt. Roast in the oven or stove top until it begins to smell toasty or until cooked.
To serve, place one eggplant in a bowl, add a generous amount of the smoked yoghurt sauce(3 tablespoons) then add the roasted nuts. Dip a fork into honey and sprinkle it on top of the yoghurt then add the extra mint.