This dark purple almost black vegetable is only ever used in cooking if you really have a great love for it.
Many people shy away from it because they misunderstand it,yet it is a very rich source of various vitamins like folate used in the development of new cells in the body.
It also contains vitamin C that is great for your skin,vitamin K a fat soluble vitamin that is very important in blood clotting and even vitamin A and essential minerals like calcium,potassium,sodium and iodine that are great for your bone development .
However individuals with gall or kidney problems may want to avoid the eggplant because of the oxalates it contains.For more on this read here.
The eggplant can be baked,fried or roasted and in a middle eastern dish called babaganoush (involves roasting the eggplant over an open fire or in the oven then pureeing/mashing it) it is used as a dip for vegetables or as a sandwich filling.
Here is a fried recipe that will have you looking at this vegetable in a whole new way.
What you will need :
2 small eggplants/aubergines sliced thinly
10 tablespoons flour
6 slices of fresh bread
some salt and black pepper
Freshly squeezed juice from 2 lemons
Some vegetable oil for shallow frying
1.First sweat the slices of eggplant by placing them in a bowl and liberally sprinkling salt over them,set aside for 30 minutes.
This removes most of the water from this very spongy vegetable and will get rid of the bitter aftertaste when you cook them.
2.After the 30 minutes pour the excess water from the eggplants then rinse them thoroughly in running water.
3.Pat dry with paper towels then pour the lemon juice over them and set aside.
4.Meanwhile ina small bowl break the eggs separately and add a pinch of salt and black pepper to the eggs and whisk lightly.
5.Chope the bread slices into quarters and pulse then in a blender and voila fresh bread crumbs.Put them in a bowl and add a teaspoon of salad seasoning.
6.Place the 10 tablespoons of flour in a separate bowl too then line them up on your table in the following order;flour,eggs,breadcrumbs.
7.Get your egg-plant slices and first dip them in the flour till covered on both sides,then dunk them in the eggs and finally in the breadcrumbs till fully covered.
Line the slices up on a platter,it is easier if after dunking all the slices in the 3 bowls you set them aside for the breadcrumbs to set,about 30 minutes.
8.Meanwhile in a frying pan,fille at up 1/4 way with vegetable oil over medium heat till it is hot enough for frying then on by one slowly slide the slices into the oil.
Put in as many as can fit into the pan without overcrowding and fry them till brown and crisp on both sides.You want to keep an eye on them because if the oil is too hot they quickly turn black.
9.Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove done pieces from the oil onto a plate lined with paper towls for the excess oil to drain.
10.Serve hot with tomato sauce or as a snack on their own.
A great carrot cake never leave sout two very important things,pineapple and nuts/dried fruit.
Now if you are a fun of this type of cake,think about having it turned into a salad!
2 cups grated carrots(use the large side of the grater)
1/2 cup of diced pine-apple
1/2 cup roasted nuts)
1/2 teaspoon salad seasoning
1.In a salad bowl mix carrot pineapple pieces,salad seasoning and toss.
2.Add dressing and toss again ,add toasted nuts and enjoy.
Tip:In place of mayonnaise you can use natural yoghurt or make a vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil( 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice ,whisk and drizzle over salad)
This is the inspiration for this great salad from one of the recipes of Ina Garten-Avocado Grapefruit salad.
I have never eaten grapefruit or seen it on the Kenyan market but we do have plenty of melons so here goes…
2 ripe avocados
1 cup of cubed sweet melon
Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoons nuts(optional)
1.Wash avocado,divide into two lengthwise,remove the stone,peel and slice into cubes.
2 Place in a small salad bowl.
3.Add the cup of sliced melon pieces.
4.Drizzle the juice of the freshly squeezed lemon
5.Dress up salad with roasted nuts or some toasted sesame seeds and enjoy.
Variation:The recipe(without the nuts) can be turned into a smoothie,you can also add cantaloupe or serve it with a scoop of ice cream
Frittata is a thick omellette that combines a varity of vegetables with eggs being the main focus of the dish.They are great as a breakfast item or as a filling for sandwiches and can be eaten hot or cold.
Here is my no- bake recipe that my five-year old loves.
2 large onions chopped
2 medium-sized grated carrots
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
chopped parsley(dhania)for garnishing
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1.Whisk together eggs,salt,pepper in a small bowl.
2.Heat a large pan and pour the 3 tablespoons of olive oil,it should cover base of pan.
3.Add the chopped red onion and saute’ it till it turns translucent.
4.Add the chopped garlic,cook for 5-10 seconds till the aroma fills your kitchen,make sure not to brown it as it turns bitter.
5.Add the tomatoes,fry till tender,then add the grated carrots season with some salt and pepper to taste and cover with a lid.
6.Let to cook for 5-7 minutes till the vegetables turn soft.
7.Add the eggs cover and sprinkle the parsley on top.
8.Cover with lid and let the steam cook the eggs till they bubble and they omelette pulls from the side of the pan,about 3-6 minutes.
9.Make sure top of the omelette is firm before you slide it onto a large plate.
10.Garnish with left over parsley and serve.
NB:If you like both sides of your omelette browned after step 9 just cover the plate with the pan again,turn omelette’s uncooked side onto pan and let cook for 2-3 minutes and serve.
Variations:You can add sausage meat,ham or bacon to make your frittata “meatier”.Or sprinke it with some cheese , melt under your grill..yum yum yum.
Kenyan cuisine offers an interesting variety of meals which are colorful,nutritious and very delicious if prepared well.Most of us are used to having it one way but here are ways to have what i consider Kenyan classics in a different way that will have you enjoying them all over again.
Instead of having your usual fried githeri,why don’t you make a salad out of it.Refer to my recipe here.
2.Sweet potatoes,arrow roots,yams.
Instead of having them boiled for breakfast why not make them the start of the show at dinner/lunch by cutting them into bite size pieces,drizzle some olive oil,salt and black pepper pop into your oven at 350 F for 35-40 minutes until they turn crisp on the outside and are soft when you pass a poke through them.
So maybe you do not like porridge,why not try my citrus infused sour porridge recipe here.
4″.Corn on the cob”
Corn is the fancy name given to maize and roast maize with pepper and lemon juice is a Kenyan street food very common in major towns.
During the times when farmers have just harvested their crop and fresh young green maize is in plenty,why don’t you have some boiled maize on the cob.
Boil the green maize in lots of salted water with some of the husks on for 10-20 minutes and feast on this simple delicacy.
The best maize for this is always the freshest where if the kernels are pressed “milk” runs out.
NB:Always remember to remove the “silk” from the maize first before boiling and most of the outer leaves.