Ixta Belfrage’s vegan recipe for aubergines with lime yogurt and spicy tomato oil | Vegan food and drink
AAlthough the dominant chili oil flavors (habanero and chipotle) take this dish in a Mexican direction, the composition is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s unbeatable formula of flavored yogurt base + roasted eggplant + vibrant toppings. It is appropriate that this recipe, my last in a series of 12, follow this formula, because I would not write it if, by some inexplicable stroke of luck, I ended up in Ottolenghi’s test kitchen for six years. there is and was able to learn from Yotam. He has marked my way of cooking all his life, and this recipe is a good example.
Eggplant with lime yogurt and tomato oil, cinnamon and chilli
Preparation 15 mins
To cook 35 minutes
3 eggplants, cut into 2½ cm thick slices (800g)
3 tablespoons light and sweet olive oil (or sunflower oil)
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 jalapeno, cut into thin rounds (optional)
1 tablespoon of chives, coarsely chopped
For the lime yogurt
350g unsweetened coconut yoghurt – I use that of The Coconut Collaboration
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely grated or mashed
1 lime – zested, to obtain 1 teaspoon, then cut into wedges to serve
⅓ teaspoon fine salt
For the chilli oil
1½ tbsp sesame seeds
2 cinnamon sticks, pretty much broken
1 dried habanero pepper (optional)
1 whole star anise
½ small onion, peeled and very finely chopped (40g)
½ teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons of light and sweet olive oil, or sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
1½ teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (not smoked)
¾ c. chipotle chips
¾ teaspoon of pul biber (or aleppo flakes or gochugaru flakes)
½ teaspoon of tomato paste/puree
2 ripe tomatoes (300g)
Heat the oven to 250 C (230 C fan)/475 F/gas 9+. Put the aubergines in a large bowl with the oil and fine salt, and mix well. Spread onto a large, flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the plate over, turn each slice of eggplant and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until both sides of each round are golden brown.
Meanwhile, combine all yogurt ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
To make the chili oil, spread the sesame seeds, cinnamon sticks, habanero and star anise in a small skillet and set over medium heat. Toast for four minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the seeds are golden brown. Pour the seeds onto a plate (leave the cinnamon, habanero and star anise in the pan) and set aside.
Add the onion, salt and two tablespoons of oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat. Fry, stirring, for three to three and a half minutes, or until the onion is golden brown (be careful not to burn it). Remove from the heat and add the remaining four tablespoons of oil, the garlic, maple syrup, paprika, chipotle, pul biber and tomato paste, and mix well.
Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Put the pulp in a colander and let drain for a minute. Add the drained pulp to the pan with the chili oil, stir, then return the pan to medium heat for two minutes, stirring often, until the oil turns bright red. Discard the habanero, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.
Put the sesame seeds in a mortar with a good pinch of flaked salt and crush them coarsely to break up the seeds and release the flavor, but not so that they become powdery. Pour the seeds into the chilli oil and mix.
Spread the yogurt on a plate and cover with the aubergines, leaving space between the slices so that you can see the yogurt underneath. Pour most of the chilli oil and squeeze some lime juice. Finish with the jalapeño and chives and serve with lime wedges on the side.