My friend Otis – from the land down under, put me on to this recipe for stuffed eggplant. It’s actually from a fellow who runs a restaurant and cooking school there. I like this recipe! It’s Indian food but with a few simple ingredients that every kitchen should probably have, but above all I like it for its taste. I made it the first time as the recipe suggests – you know I like to respect the Chef’s version – their vision so to speak. The second time I made it, of course I changed the recipe based on my taste and that of the original recipe, as well as the methodology – based on experience. Remember recipes are just guides. Once you know the final destination, there are lots of ways to get you there. Use your experience as a guide!

This is pure vegetarian – KevLis, this one’s for you! Pictured below is a stuffed eggplant and stuffed zucchini. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which I liked more, neither was hard to do and both were equally delicious. I used Indian eggplant (they look like baby eggplants, small and round/oval). For these small eggplant, I cut the top end off, and removed some of the core – really mostly seed came out – but I threw this in my stuffing. Some say it’s a bitter taste, but I salted it, chopped it up and added it to the stuffing. Other ways of stuffing the eggplant include cutting it in half, similar to the zucchini pictured below, removing some of the center and stuffing it. For the zucchini, I sliced it in half, removed the seeds and stuffed it – overflowing with stuffing actually – delicious. I also baked it to a semi-firm so it had some bite to it, again delicious.

So try this recipe, use whatever method you like to stuff the eggplant and/or zucching. Don’t skimp on the tomatoes or the juice that comes from them, it helps keep the stuffing moist and adds nice mouth feel to the final product. You can also add other things to the stuffing, but really it is so delicious as is, I wouldn’t add anything else – other than the hot green chilies. As always – enjoy!

6 – 8 Indian (small round) eggplants or 3 – 4 zucchini
3 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 ½ tbsp. chili powder
2 – 3 tbsp. garam masala
1 ½ cups desiccated coconut – unsweetened
4 green chilies, chopped – Thai or green, as long as they are hot
1 tsp salt
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 cups chopped tomatoes – juice and all
¼ cup water
Seasoning Ingredients – Additional salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

Heat the oil in a medium heavy bottom frying pan, add the ginger paste and stir to release flavor
Add the turmeric, chili powder and garam masala and stir to cook – about 2 minutes – make sure it isn’t burning – reduce the heat and take off the fire. If it is starting to burn – add some water
Add the coconut and stir – you want the coconut to caramelize and absorb all the spice mix – stir constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn
Add the tomatoes and cook through
Add water if necessary, stir – add the cilantro and continue to cook
Taste, season and taste again
Remove from the fire – let cool
Pre heat the oven to 375F
Hollow out the eggplant and stuff with the cooled stuffing, same with the zucchini
Line a baking tray with foil, sprinkle some olive oil onto the foil and rub to coat the foil
Arrange the stuffed items on the tray
Pour any additional stuffing onto the eggplant/zucchini and bake for 30 – 45 minutes
Yes I know that’s a big gap, but it depends on the size of the eggplant, the heat of your oven if it’s eggplant or zucchini etc. Best way to tell if it’s done is to use a pair of tongs and squeeze it – does it squeeze really easy – probably overdone but delicious, does it have a bit of firmness to it but also some give – probably enough cooking – and delicious, is it hard – raw, still delicious but hard to swallow. You get the idea, it’s food, not space travel.

stuffed eggplant2 stuffed eggplant3