Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eggplants and Peppers in Olive Oil


As I mentioned before, there’s supposed to be 41 different eggplant dishes in Turkish cuisine. This is one of the simplest ones. Though it is simple, I think it is very good as a side dish.

You can use any kind of eggplants for this dish, but I usually buy long Chinese/Japanese type eggplants since they have less seeds in them. Also, it is customary to add a teaspoon of sugar to most of the olive oil based dishes in Turkey, I leave it as “optional” depending on your taste.

  • 1 lb ( 3 )long eggplants (Chinese or Japanese type)
  • 1 bell pepper or 1 cup frozen cut bellpeppers. Sometimes I use frozen peppers that come in 3 different colors. This adds a nice color to the dish.
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 table spoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Salt to taste

Cut the top of the eggplants. Peel portions of it lengthwise as seen in the picture below. Wash and drain. Cut them in byte size pieces. I usually quarter the eggplant lengthwise and cut into 1 inch slices after that.

If you are using fresh peppers, cut the top of the bell pepper, remove the seeds. Cut in slices lengthwise. Wash and drain. Skip this step if you are using frozen cut peppers.
Place olive oil, onions and garlic in a heavy sauce pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
In a small bowl, mix tomato paste and boiling water. Add eggplants, peppers, tomato paste mixture, sugar (optional) and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer into a serving dish. This is served at room temperature as most olive oil based dishes. In the Aegean region of Turkey it is often a main dish for lunch, served hot with yogurt.

Afiyet olsun! Bon Appetit!

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