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Chickpea Eggplant Dip

For this occasion I followed Marcus Samuelsson’s  recipe in “The Soul of a New Cuisine” but I divided it in half.  I found the result to be flavourful, but the texture was pasty.  Below is my revised recipe.

1 c. dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water for 8 hours or overnight
1 carrot, peeled and cut in half
1 small onion, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 eggplant, cut lengthwise in half
2 T. olive oil
1 Thai red chili, cut in half, seeds and ribs removed
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 c. plain yogurt, or to taste
salt, pepper and lemon juice, to taste
1-2 t. harissa, optional (recipe below)

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups

Combine soaked chickpeas, carrot and onion in a medium saucepan, add 2 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the chickpeas or very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300ºF.  Toss the garlic and eggplant with 2 T. oil and arrange on a roasting pan, eggplant cut side down, and roast for 40 minutes.  Add the chili to the roasting pan, cut side down, and roast for another 10 minutes.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Scoop the flesh from the eggplant and transfer to a blender.  Add the roasted garlic and chili, chickpeas, cumin, 1 T. olive oil and about 2 T. of cooking liquid.  Purée, adding enough yogurt and more of the cooking liquid, if needed, to reach a light, creamy consistency.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, lemon juice and harissa.  The dip will keep several days in the refrigerator, but is best served at room temperature.

Harissa
3/4 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. caraway seeds
1 c. mild chili powder
1 T. ground coriander
1 t. salt
2 T. chopped mint

Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the caraway seeds, chili powder, salt and mint and stir to combine. Let cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Harissa can also be used as an accompaniment to couscous or as a flavouring for soups and stews.

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