Crispy, salty, melting, soft and ooooh so moreish these were a flash of inspiration that made my little day.
They’re also pretty simple to make so hooray for that!
You will need:
- 1 aubergine (eggplant)
- 5-6tbsp gram (chickpea) flour
- enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan to about 5mm deep
- salt and pepper to taste (you can also add some ground chili or cumin or whatever you fancy)
Slice the aubergine across into rounds less than 1cm thick.
Mix the salt and pepper in with the gram flour and place in a shallow dish wide enough to fit a slice of aubergine into it flat.
Scrunch a few sheets of paper towel and put these onto your serving plate so the fried pieces have something to drain onto.
Heat the oil until it is shimmering but not smoking. You can test it with a piece of stale bread which should go brown in 30secs or so.
Place a slice of aubergine into the seasoned gram flour and press down. Turn it over and press down again so it is coated. The natural moisture should be enough to make a light coating stick.
Knock gently on the side of the dish to remove the excess flour and place in the hot oil. Repeat until the pan is full. The slices shouldn’t touch.
When the tops of the slices are changing colour and becoming translucent in places flip the slices over carefully. Don’t splash yourself!
Fry until both sides are golden brown.
Remove shaking to get rid of excess oil. Pat each slice with the paper towel then leave to drain and cool for a few seconds.
Serve as quickly as possible with a hot, sharp tomato salsa or just a wedge of lemon and some salad.
Gram flour is available from lots of Asian and increasingly from mainstream supermarkets. It’s made from ground chickpeas and is use in all sorts of Indian snacks. Too much of it can have a well-known embarrassing leguminous effect so go easy. That said it is great for making all sorts of little fried things like this and may be useful for people with a wheat intolerance. It’s also high protein so vegetarians and low carb dieters may find it a handy product to have around. It does have a specific flavour of its own, somewhat vegetable. Personally I like it but you may prefer to disguise it with lots of garlic and spice. It doesn’t substitute well for wheat flour in all things so check your recipes.
Baked avocados? Baked avocados?
Oh yes. Definitely yes. Very definitely yes.
The idea for these came from the wonderful Leiths Vegetarian Bible by Polly Tyrer. Her version has garlic herb cheese in it but I am a funny bunny and don’t like cheese. No not even cream cheese. Not even marscapone. I do like garlic butter though, so I took the cooking time and temp and made a new thing.
I must confess I’d had cooked avocados before in Ethiopian stews with chicken. They were delicious but pretty much buried under the flavour of the spices and the fire of the scotch bonnets. This recipe lets them shine and shine they do. They have a flavour a little bit like artichoke but really unlike anything else. What you really notice is the fantastic texture and the very enjoyable sense of eating a genuinely decadent tasting vegetarian dish.
This is also super quick and simple to make.
I’m going to give you a per avocado recipe and you can adapt it for the number of people you have. One avocado will serve one person as a main course or two as a substantial starter.
You will need:
1 ripe but firm avocado
1 dessert spoon softened butter
1 clove garlic
1 sprig each fresh thyme, sage and rosemary
salt and black pepper to taste
Set the oven to 200C/gas mark 6
Grate the zest from the lemon. Chop the herbs very finely. Crush the garlic into a paste. Mash all of the above into the butter with a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper.
Halve the avocado, remove the stone and peel.
Smear the avocado and fill the stone hole with the butter mixture. Place the avocado face down on a baking sheet. No need too butter the sheet because as you’ll see the the avocado is well greased already and won’t stick.
Bake for ten minutes. No longer. Timing is important.
Serve with a wedge of lemon, a side salad and crusty bread. Drizzle the melted butter from the pan over the avocado.
Feel smug that deliciousness is so bloody easy.