Spicy Eggplant Salad

Afghanistan Bonjan

3 medium-sized eggplants
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse (kosher salt)
1 teaspoon hot red chili flakes, or minced fresh chiles
1/4 cup corn oil
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoon crushed dried mint

Slice the eggplants crosswise into 11/2 inch thick pieces. Sprinkle them with 2 teaspoons coarse salt and let stand for 15 minutes. Rinse eggplants under cold water, which removes the bitter taste, rinse, and dry well on a towel. Heat the oil in a skillet and lightly brown eggplant slices over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Remove and put into a serving bowl. Cool.

Put the tomato sauce, pepper, chile, cinnamon, mint and 1/2 teaspoon salt, if wanted, in a pan. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, which is long enough to integrate the flavors. Pour this over the eggplant; refrigerate until ready to use. The salad can remain in the refrigerator for several days. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 servings.



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