October 21, 2021

Recipe: Sweet and sour eggplant with dukkah and beetroot tarator

Go to a little extra effort to make your next mezze amazing with this spice-laden eggplant dish.

Sweet and sour eggplant with dukkah and beetroot tarator

2 large eggplants, unpeeled
extra virgin olive oil
3 thick slices sourdough bread
60ml pomegranate syrup
white pepper
¼ tsp ground star anise
¼ tsp coriander powder
⅓ cup fresh mint leaves, shredded
⅓ cup fresh dill leaves, chopped coarsely
⅓ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped coarsely

to serve
pomegranate seeds
100g smoked feta finely crumbled
100g finely chopped toasted walnuts

Cut off the green top of the eggplants and cut into chunks. Layer them in a colander in the sink, sprinkling each layer with ½ tsp salt.

Cover with a plate and weigh down. Leave for an hour to allow them to disgorge their liquid. Next, gently squeeze the eggplant so the pieces are quite dry, don’t worry that they will have lost their shape.

In a frying pan, heat up half the oil and fry the eggplant in small batches until they are cooked through and a little golden.

Set aside on paper towel. When cool, chop finely.

Meanwhile, put the bread slices in a food processor to make fine crumbs. Soak these in the pomegranate syrup for about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, put in the eggplant, breadcrumbs, pepper and herbs. Using your hands, mix them together to make a dense paste that will hold its shape. Roll into small balls or dome shapes, and roll in the dukkah.

To serve, set the balls on the beetroot tarator, scattered with pomegranate seeds and drizzled with extra pomegranate syrup, walnuts and smoked feta. Serve as part of a mezze platter or as an entree with pickled vegetables.

dukkah (makes 1 cup)
200g slivered almonds
4 tbsp white sesame seeds
4 tbsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
pinch allspice
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)

Place the almonds in a dry cast iron pan. Toast briefly over medium-high heat, tossing regularly, until the nuts gain some colour. Allow to cool and chop roughly. Place the sesame seeds in the same pan and return to the heat. Toast over medium heat, tossing regularly, until the sesame seeds turn golden brown. Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds only. Do not over process. Store the dukkah in a tight-lidded jar.

beetroot tarator (makes 1 cup)
1 beetroot, scrubbed and roasted until very tender
60g walnuts toasted lightly
1 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, mashed
chilli flakes to taste
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
olive oil

When the beetroot is well cooked, allow to cool, then peel and chop roughly. Put the beetroot, walnuts and tahini in a food processor and blend to a smooth puree. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.

Add a small amount of olive oil to loosen up the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning.


This recipe first appeared in the August 2021 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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