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Monday, August 15, 2011

Aubergine with Buttermilk Sauce (aka Fancy Moutabal) :)

Somebody was writing on Facebook today "15 days left of summer" :( and that gave me a shudder. Where did summer go? It's undeniably my favourite season. The markets are busting at the seams with fresh, local produce and fresh is always better than canned, frozen, or marinated, as we do with food in winter. :(
Yesterday I went to the market and, to my amazement, I bought some beautiful aubergines at 1 RON a kilo.  For all my readers who don't live in Romania, 1 euro is equivalent with approx 4 RON, so 0.25 euro cents for freshly-picked aubergines is a great bargain.

I love aubergines immensely. I used to love them in my childhood when my mother would make them "Romanian style" with mayonnaise and red onions, which was very nice, but could never compare with the magic of moutabal, or Yotam Ottolenghi's Aubergine with buttermilk sauce from Plenty.

Burned Aubergines with Yoghurt, Shredded Cucumbers & Zataar
(aka Fancy Moutabal- perfect for parties and intimate meals)

Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and inspired by Delicioasa

I must be honest and tell you that I wasn't even planning to blog about my dinner of last night - actually I was going to write about a Romanian dish and also post some stuff about a beautiful place in the heart of Transylvania. Hmmm... maybe next time...  so hang around for my next post :)
I have been making these beautiful-looking and delicious-tasting eggplants many, many times over the spring and summer, both for myself and Mike and for parties, and let me tell you something, they make a statement, worthy of their diva status. The great presentation and the fabulous taste will make an amazing impact on you & your loved ones. 

Type of cuisine: Middle Eastern/Fusion

Cooking time: 40 minutes for roasting + 5 minutes for presentation

I first discovered this great recipe on Delicioasa's delicious blog and I tried many times to get the recipe right, but because I wasn't cutting the aubergines before roasting them, I always ended up making moutabal! Also, while browsing, one day I discovered this very video recipe presented by Yotam Ottolenghi himself and that was the reason why I decided to order his two (absolutely mind-blowing) books on the spot.

Ingredients (for two people)

 2 aubergines (1 per person)

2 small cucumbers



olive oil

pomegranate seeds

1 tbs of tahini paste 


lemon juice

a pinch of cumin seeds


extra virgin olive oil


(Wash the aubergines and pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees C)

Halve the aubergines and place them on a tray upside down. Make sure you also use a baking sheet as it will prevent the aubergines from sticking to the tray. Roast for approx 40 minutes "at which point the flesh should be soft, flavoursome and nicely browned" (as instructed in Plenty).

In love

In the meantime, shred the cucumbers very finely and prepare the yoghurt sauce. Mix the yoghurt with a pinch of cumin seeds, salt & a little lemon juice and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over. Once you remove the aubergines from the oven and they cool down, place them on a plate and start decorating. Pierce the burned flesh with a fork & drizzle the tahini paste over the plant, season with a pinch of salt, zataar, and add the shredded cucumber. Finally drizzle the yoghurt sauce with generosity and top with pomegranate seeds.

So when you eat,  follow these instructions: use a small spoon and use the skin as if it were a longer bowl. Whisk the flesh with the yoghurt, the tahini paste, the cucumbers and the slightly sour pomegranates and you will have the most delicious fancy moutabal in the world :)
And don't forget the zataar, so easy to make and so heavenly delicious, the more you sprinkle, the tastier. Enjoy :)

1 comment:

  1. I love aubergines as well, which makes me wonder why I don't cook them more often... Thank you for sharing this, because it really looks delicious! )