Chickpeas and eggplants. The classic Mediterranean combo and in Greece especially, these two are regularly cooked together. We in the Indian subcontinent call eggplants: brinjals and we love eating them as a bharta or mashed, with tempered spices and garlic or cooked with meat or fish. But today I wanted to use carob syrup as my stay here in Greece is mainly spurred by my research on the carob! The idea was to stuff the eggplant and as I has bought chickpeas from the open air market, after an overnight soaking in water and almost burning them while boiling, I made a masala and stuffed the eggplant halves. The twist I added was pouring carob syrup on top of this.
1 large eggplant (dont forget to soak them in salt for about half hr before use to get rid of any allergic reactions!)
1 cup chickpeas boiled with salt and a dash of garlic
1 large onion diced, 1 tbs finely diced garlic
Pinch of cumin powder, cinnamon powder, coriander seeds (roughly ground)
1/4 cup tomatoe puree
Salt and a fresh red pepper. Use this to your preference but a little heat feels good
1-2 tbs chopped green onions, leafy part
Slice the eggplants from the middle to get 2 boat shaped parts and empty the middle parts. You may use the scooped out insides in the masala or onion mix otherwise discard it, use as compost or just bin it. Now take two small plastic figures and place them in the boat eggplants and do a photo shoot of how an eggplant was used to rescue shipwrecked survivors! Alternately, start frying the boat shaped eggplants in minimal oil until they brown (or burn…like I end up doing!) Take them Bout and brown the onions then add the garlic and sautee for about 1 minute before adding the tomato puree. Now add the spices and chilies and salt. Once the oil starts separating add the chickpeas and cook for about 2 minutes. Scoop the chickpeas into the eggplant boats.
Serving: Make a raita or yoghurt mix of fennel greens (you may use mint or coriander, but I only had fennel in my stock today!) and salt and pepper. Pour this on the chickpeas and a dash of carob syrup on top. The carob adds a sweetness which just hits the right notes with the heat of the rest of the food. Alternately you can use palm syrup or maple syrup. Or just a sugar syrup with lemon squeezed in it.