Sensing a trend here? I don’t know about anyone else but sometimes I get on a flavor kick and this time it’s Morocco. The blend of spices, the end of winter, the texture of the food in my mouth — not sure what it is but we’re really enjoying the experimentation.
I had some eggplant jam a few weeks ago and have been dying to try it and yesterday was the day. It was a good thing really because we had intended to have thick juicy beef filets for dinner. I’d bought the meat, cut the steaks really thick and sat them on the counter to bring to room temperature. I went to the sofa with my iPad to send some Twitter messages and then went back into the kitchen. I put the grill pan on the stove to heat to sizzle and then turned around to get the steaks. No steaks.
Small dog who has learned to jump was very damp around his mouth and looking VERY guilty. Damn well he should! I’d been looking forward to my steak all day long. “Bad dog!!” didn’t make me feel one bit better.
We’d had a big dinner the night before and we’d had lunch so why not a dinner of dips with my fancy dancy eggplant jam and the other dips in the fridge? Dinner was sorted. I’ll admit that rather than tossing away the baked potatoes and asparagus, we ate those too. Not very Moroccan but good.
Eggplant jam originates from Morocco but until recently had fallen out of favor with the younger generation. The Jewish community in Morocco has kept the dish alive and its popularity is now spreading around the world and I can see why. It’s absolutely delicious and it keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It’s sweet and tangy and goes well with heaps of dips.
I put the pizza stone in the oven. Then I brushed some pita bread with olive oil on both sides and cut it into triangles with my pizza cutter. Once the stone was hot, I put the “chips” on just until they started to turn brown and crunchy.
That was all dinner required. Making the eggplant jam was really easy. Start by peeling and chopping the eggplant. I like the little ones but I think any eggplant would work.
Then chop the onion and garlic and cook these three ingredients in batches because it looks like a lot but it reduces as it cooks.
When all the ingredients are soft, place all the batches back into the pan and add the paprika, cumin, turmeric and chilli and cook for only 30 seconds.
Then add the vinegar and brown sugar and stir well. Reduce the heat and cook til most of the moisture has evaporated. Stir in the salt and pepper to taste and the fresh herbs.
Eggplant jam is best at room temperature but it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It won’t last that long at my house.
Place the jam in a bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley or coriander (cilantro) and serve with pita bread, pita chips or anything else you want to use as a shovel. heh
- 750 grams peeled eggplant chopped
- 4 cloves garlic very finely diced
- 1 onion finely diced
- Oil for frying
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 long red chilli finely diced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 100ml white vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 1 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
- Peel eggplant and chop into small pieces
- Prepare garlic and onion and dice very finely
- Combine eggplant, garlic and onion
- Cook in batches in a pan til soft
- Add paprika, cumin, turmeric and chilli and cook for 30 seconds
- Add vinegar and brown sugar and stir well to combine
- Reduce heat, stirring often, til most of the moisture has evaporated
- Stir in salt and pepper to taste and chopped herbs
- Transfer to serving bowl
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley or coriander (cilantro) and a dusting of paprika
- Serve at room temperature with pita bread