Another hot day…another food-sick day (instead of home-sick!) and seeing as I am well into brinjals (aubergines or eggplants) at the moment I thought I would try this recipe from Saveur.com today.
An earthy combination of fried aubergine, tea-steeped hard-boiled eggs, tahini, parsley, amba (a mango chutney/relish), and cucumber salad goes into this vegetarian sandwich, which is based on a traditional Shabbat breakfast of Iraqi Jews.
I was brought up in the Middle East for 13 years and thus have a great love of Middle Eastern food. You can honestly wake me up in the middle of the night for some home-made houmous, tabbouleh and warm Lebanese or Turkish bread…but I’ll save that for another post!
The ingredients for a Brinjal & Cucumber Sandwich:
- The peel of 1 large red onion
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
- 7 tbsp. oil (vegetable)
- 1 1/2 lbs. large brinjal/aubergine, cut crosswise into 1/4″-thick slices
- Salt, to taste
- 2 small cucumbers, unpeeled, finely chopped
- 1 small tomato, cored and finely chopped
- The remainder of the red onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tbsp. tahini
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped and mashed into a paste with a little salt
- 4 pitas, warmed
- Amba (mango) chutney, for serving
- 1/4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
Photo Credit: André Baranowski
1. Place tea bags and onion peel in a large saucepan with 8 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting, add eggs, and cover; let eggs steep until they’ve darkened in color, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large cast- iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Season eggplant with salt. Working in batches, add eggplant and cook, flipping once, until golden and very soft, 3–4 minutes. Transfer eggplant to paper towels and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and olive oil; season cucumber salad with salt and pepper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the remaining lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and 5 tbsp. ice water. Whisk ingredients until creamy and season with salt; set tahini sauce aside.
4. To serve, slice off the top quarter of the pita breads and spread some of the tahini mixture on the inside of each pita. Put about 7 slices of eggplant into each pita along with one egg. Add some of the cucumber salad, top with some of the amba chutney, and stuff some of the parsley into each pita. Drizzle the top of each sandwich with the remaining tahini sauce.