Friday 25 April 2014

Eggplant/Aubergine salad

Eggplant and Aubergine Salad 

Creating new salads, one discovers the joys of combining so many of one's favourite foods. I like to taste with my mind's taste buds while adding and tossing things from my pantry and fridge. 
It is fun, the only downside being I perhaps can never recreate it to the tee. I can live with that!! 
So here is something that was much appreciated by my guests for an impromptu lunch that I will share with you.

Eggplant, herbs, tomatoes, salad and more 

4 small Japanese eggplants 
250 g/ 8 oz or 1 cup of mixed small tomatoes
1 small pita bread,  rubbed with toasted with a rub of garlic, soft butter and chopped fine herbs like parsley or mint on it.
a handful of mixed herbs like fresh mint and parsley 
The zest and the fresh juice from one lime or limbu
sunflower or pumpkin seeds
dried cranberries
125g/ 4 oz or 1/2 cup of feta cheese, curmbled
olive oil
garlic clove
drizzle of honey
4 cups of mixed greens, spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage

Slice the eggplant into 1-inch rounds. Toss this with salt and olive oil. 
In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss the eggplant in until it starts to colour. Try to flip it with the handle of the pan and don't use the spoon. Add a few drops of water from time to time as it helps caramelise faster. 
Remove the eggplants, set them aside, and repeat with the remaining eggplants. Sprinkle them with a tsp of sumac, lime juice, and a drizzle of honey. 
In a hot oven at 170 C | 350 F place the pita with rubbed garlic, smeared in butter and topped with herbs. This will take about 7 minutes to crisp. Cut it into pieces and leave it aside. 

To assemble, toss the greens, herbs, and the zest of the lime together and place them on a platter. 
Toss the tomatoes in a tsp of olive oil after cutting them in half or leaving them whole if you prefer. 
Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place all the eggplants all over. 
Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds over. 
Now sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over. Next, the crisp toasted pita chips. and cranberries.

The vinaigrette

If you like to serve this with a vinaigrette, make a light one with 4 tbsp of olive oil. One pressed garlic clove; a pinch of brown sugar and salt to taste; and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Shake well and drizzle all over. 

Do not assemble in advance, only prior to serving. 
Add dried cherries, figs, or apricots instead of cranberries. It is still as sweet! 
It will work well if you add walnuts or pecans instead of seeds.

Add pomegranate seeds for colour and texture. 

Add a tsp of brown sugar instead of honey, but while it is cooking rather than after, so it helps caramelise the eggplant. 
The melange of salad leaves gives a blend of texture and visually looks amazing. 
Sumac is found in Middle Eastern stores universally and is a tangy berry powder. Anar dana is the closest to it as a substitute. 
If Japanese eggplants are not available, use the ordinary ones cubed and diced equally. Discard the seed pouches within larger eggplants.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is an award-winning book. It was self-published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking: Reviving an Ancient Cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through Amazon Book Depot, Book Depository, and from the publishers.


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