By Almas Khan
Author of Poppadom Preach
This is a really easy recipe to prepare. In the U.K. we call it Smoked Aubergine Raita. From start to finish, it should take no more than 40 minutes. This is a really delicious dip-style dish, and you can have it with burgers, mashed potatoes, or just on its own. In my home we normally serve it with kebabs (the recipe for those to follow in a future post).
1 large eggplant
3 medium onions, finely sliced
4 fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 green chiles, thinly sliced
Medium-sized handful of cilantro
Small cup of natural (Greek style) plain yogurt
Dash of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the eggplant, and pierce it so that it doesn’t explode when you put it on the cooker to smoke. If you have a gas stove, place the eggplant on the gas ring on a medium flame. If you have a grill, you can grill it over the open flame using tongs to turn it as it blisters.
While the eggplant is cooking, chop the onions and the rest of the ingredients and place in a bowl. Add the seasoning and the lemon juice and set aside.
Be sure that the eggplant is cooked all the way through; it needs to be really mushy, so turn it over and char it on the other side once it’s nicely blackened on the first one. You may notice a clear, watery liquid coming out of the fork holes you made—it will be ready once there is no more liquid oozing out of these holes. Don’t worry about the skin burning, that’s what gives this dish its smoky taste. When you’re satisfied that it’s done, remove the eggplant from the flame and place on a chopping board. Allow a few minutes to cool.
Slice eggplant down the middle and then scoop out all the soft pulp from inside the skin, and add to the other ingredients. You may also want to add some of the charred skin, as it will give the dish a really distinct flavor.
Mix in the yogurt to make a guacamole-type dip, then taste to see if you have the required seasoning. If you feel it needs more salt add it now; this goes for the chiles as well. If you want a thinner raita add more yogurt, or reduce for a thicker consistency.
Store the raita in the fridge until it’s ready to be eaten.
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Photo by Almas Khan