Smoky Spiced Eggplant and Capsicum Bhurta

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One of the podcasts I loved to listen to was Vinnie Tortorich’s show ‘The Angriest Trainer’. It has, bar none, the best opening theme of any podcast I’ve heard. Whoever thought to include the horse sound effect is a genius. The irreverent Angriest Trainer, “trainer to the stars”, doesn’t eat sugar or grains and characterises himself as a carnivorous vegan, because his diet includes loads of vegetables and meat. Contrary to what mass media would have you believe, there is a huge emphasis on non-starchy vegetables among paleo eaters, because vegetables are nutrient-dense and satiating and everyone agrees that it is a good thing to eat more vegetables.

Today’s recipe is inspired by the eggplants which are bountiful at the moment. I prefer the round eggplants rather than the long thin variety which I have sometimes found to be bitter and seedy. A bhurta is a lightly fried mixture of mashed vegetables. This eggplant version goes very nicely with lamb dishes.

Smoky Eggplant and Capsicum Bhurta

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants (aubergines), cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 red capsicum, halved and deseeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parsley, coriander or basil, finely chopped, to serve

Line a large baking tray with foil. Brush with 1T of olive oil. Place the eggplants and capsicum on the tray – skin side up – and cook under the grill (broiler) for about 20-25 minutes until the flesh is soft and the skin is charred. Depending on the size of your eggplants, they may need more time than the capsicum. They need to be cooked until very soft.

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Allow eggplants to cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Peel the skin off the capsicum and discard skin. Chop the eggplants and capsicum roughly.

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Heat the remaining 1T olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, spices, eggplant, capsicum, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley, coriander or basil.

by Lorinda Seto

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