Smoky Eggplant With Spicy Chickpeas & Tahini Sauce
Plus how to char eggplant in an oven
Thank you to all my new members who have recently signed up to “Live More Veg”. So many of you have signed up recently. Welcome! Please feel free to introduce yourselves and share where you are from and your love for veggies. I would love to connect with you. A recent note from a new member warmed my heart and absolutely made my day! (Thank you Karla for your support and I hope you find some amazing new recipes and inspiration here!)
Today, I have a really special recipe for you (downloadable and printable). A recipe so simple, that you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before. A Smoky Eggplant With Spicy Chickpeas & Tahini Sauce.
Ever so often I will come across a term on social media that will make me promptly Google it. Most recently, the term “Roman Empire” spiked my interest.
“What’s your Roman Empire?”
“How often during the day do you think of the “Roman Empire?”
These were the questions I had encountered social media influencers asking their viewers and food influencers (Sophie Hansen mentioned it in her Monday newsletter most recently). It made no sense to me.
Upon Googling, I deciphered that a TikTok influencer was quite convinced that men often think about the Roman Empire as they are quite enamoured by Julius Caesar and the likes, by the strength and dominance of the warriors and politicians of that era. And so she urged her viewers to ask the men in their lives (husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers etc..) how many times they thought of the Roman Empire on any given day?
Let me pause here and mention, how ridiculous is this concept. I feel like people on TikTok and other social media platforms talk about the most ridiculous things and these ridiculous things end up becoming a meme or a permanent fixture in the pop culture landscape of our times.
I asked my guys and they were like “Huh? What? Roman Empire?”. Good lads!
Anyways, this social media occurrence and subsequent progression have given birth to the terminology “What’s your Roman Empire?” meaning “What is something you can’t live without or think about quite often?”.
For me it is a fire-roasted eggplant that has charred and absorbed the essence of smoke itself. Smoky! Something I staunchly believe should be the sixth flavour profile after sweet, sour, salty, spicy and umami.
Yes! A smoky eggplant is my Roman Empire amongst other things. And today, I have a bonus recipe for you that you NEED to make as soon as possible. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere (like me!), fire up your barbies (that is slang for barbecue here in Australia) and whack a whole eggplant on it. Or do as I do, get a $10 camping stove from Kmart and cook your eggplant on an open flame till it is charred and the skin peels away in a crackled pattern. And make this recipe that I am sharing today - Smoky Eggplant With Spicy Chickpeas & Tahini Sauce.
It has such an unusual combination of ingredients but it works. Oh, it works! Smoky roasted whole eggplant skinned to reveal the velvety flesh, presented on a bed of the most gorgeous tahini sauce scattered with spicy flavourful chickpeas. All you need is a knife and fork!
The spicy chickpeas and that tahini sauce are a vibe honestly. And if you were to switch the eggplant with anything else you might fancy (a whole roasted sweet potato? a perfectly caramelized whole cauliflower? half a sugarplum cabbage roasted and charred to black deliciousness? .. they would all work!)
But let’s also explore the different techniques for roasting an eggplant to smoky perfection, if you don’t have access to fire cooking (hello induction!)
And if you love eggplant (or aubergine as my English friends love to call it or brinjal as it is known to my Indian friends and family back in India), you must make this beautiful dish that is quite lovely to eat by itself (like a roasted eggplant salad) and adds a wow factor when served at gatherings (my photography workshop students loved eating and photographing it). Soy sauce and tahini - the best kind of fusion!
If you don’t have access to a barbecue or camping stove or any kind of gas/fire cooking, the oven is your best friend.
Always use large eggplants. Also known as Globe or American, these eggplants are large, globular and bigger than your palm. They have a lot of flesh and are perfect for roasting and making Baba Ghanoush or Nasu Dengaku (Japanese Miso Roasted Eggplant)
First, preheat your oven to 230°C (210°Ç fan-forced) / 450°F ($10°F fan-forced)