Recipe: Turkish-Model Eggplant With Tomatoes

Photo by Sarina Petrocelly

Every now and then a trip to the farmer’s market ends with an exotic new dish.

This braised aubergine is part dip, part starter and goes perfectly with a warm naan or flatbread. It makes the most of the summer’s fresh produce by slowly cooking everything and then letting the flavors blend together.

If you want to try a more traditional version of this dish, give this a try This one here. I’ve taken the liberty of streamlining the process and using a one-pot cooking method for easier cleaning. This simple recipe is vegan too, so give it a try next time you see beautiful eggplants for sale. The vegetable lovers in your life will thank you!

Turkish style eggplant with tomato recipe:

Ingredients (for 4 to 6 people):

  • 2 lbs. Eggplants (1 large or several smaller), washed and cut into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 pound of ripe tomatoes, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large hot paprika (I used a Korean longhorn pepper), washed and roughly chopped
  • Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Eggplant, naan

Method:

Start preparing your fresh vegetables. Wash, clean and roughly chop the aubergines, tomatoes and peppers. Everything will fall apart in the process of cooking so you don’t have to worry about the sizes listed above. Crush the two cloves of garlic and roughly chop them as well.

In a heavy pan, Dutch oven, or instant pot, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add the aubergine, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. Add the rest of the olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, hot peppers, and tomatoes, then continue cooking for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes or so. Season to taste with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh naan or flatbread.

Chill any leftovers. This would be a great addition to any sausage board or tapas spread as it is so similar Baba Ghanouja.

Variations:

  • If the ripe tomatoes aren’t looking great at your local grocery store, use a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes.
  • The pepper can be any variety you can find, but don’t skip this ingredient. The dish needs that little heat kick. In a pinch, dried paprika flakes will also work.
  • Larger eggplants usually have thicker skins. You can peel alternate strips with a vegetable peeler or even peel them whole. Smaller eggplants have a thinner, more tender skin that breaks up a little when cooked.
  • If you don’t have naan or flatbread to eat, try plain white rice.

Sometimes it’s the simple preparations that make the best dishes. While this braised eggplant won’t win any beauty pageants, you will crave its creamy, exotic flavor after the first taste.

** All photos by Sarina Petrocelly

Do you have a favorite recipe for fresh summer products? How do you prepare eggplants? Share your ideas with us in the comments.