I still remember that day when we had a BBQ at H’s godparents’ house. The birds were chirping happily. The linen was crispy white and embroidered in pale ivory. The garden was just recently manicured. I smelled the earth. The flowers were singing their hearts contents. The roses, particularly the roses. The pool was glistening, beckoning us to jump in. The air was fresh, still cold but the rays are breaking in, as if telling us that Spring is not here for long anymore.
It was late May. We were fresh off the plane from Japan. And boy, were we glad to be back in Toulouse, the pretty Toulouse.
But for me, the hero of the day was Tata’s aubergine with tomato sauce. The eggplant was thinly sliced (mandolin), fried and slow cooked over low fire with fresh tomatoes. From the outward appearances, it reminded me of the Indonesian/Malay version of Sambal Terong but with much fewer spices. No red chili or candlenut.
Coming home to Angola, my mouth waters just thinking about that day. I tried to re-create her dish but aiming for a healthier version at the same time. I cut my eggplants in 0.5 cm width, then cut in further into quarters. I grilled them with some olive oil. Once they had a nice brown grill mark , I turned the other side. They were still half cooked (half fried) when I fished them out. I finished cooking them in a tomato sauce mixed with paprika paste, served with tabouleh.
“Just the kind of dish I really like eating,” said H. I agree. This particularly works well with dry grains such as tabouleh, couscous and I would guess Quinoa.
GRILLED EGGPLANTS IN TOMATO SAUCE
serve 4 as side dish
1 large eggplant, sliced 0.5cm then further cut into quarter rings
1 can tomato with its juices
½ tbsp paprika paste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp OO
Vegetable oil for grilling
- Heat up the grilling pan with 2-3 tbsp of oil. Working in batches, grill the egg plants 1-2 mins for each side till half way cooked. Fish them and set aside.
- In a non stick pan (preferably with a lid), heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil and add in the garlic to aromatize the oil. Add in the tomatoes and using the back of your spatula, break the tomatoes into pieces.
- Add the paprika paste and mix well.
- Once the tomato sauce simmers, turn down the heat to low and add in the eggplants.
- Stir to make sure the sauces are covering the eggplants, then cover it. Let the tomato sauce penetrate the eggplants and the sauce has reduced a bit into a thick soup.
Add salt if needed. Otherwise serve immediately.