We have a local market that sets up right next to our village about once a week. It goes according to the Chinese Lunar calendar, which I can’t really figure out. But we found one on the internet, printed it out and stuck it in our kitchen. That still didn’t stop us (Arthur) from reading it wrong and making a trip out to the market when there was no market last Sunday. Getting it right yesterday, we set out early to get first-ish pick of the crop. I love market days, coming back home with such a variety of fruit and vegetables, you can’t help but feel experimental and inspired to cook something exciting!
I found and flipped through a Mediterranean cookbook I bought in Greece and the recipe for “Eggplant Papoutsaki with Lentils” caught my eye. But seeing how I didn’t have key ingredients lentils, fresh parsley or gruyere, I was going to make my own version – Eggplant Papoutdali by Limay. Get it? Hurhur. Ok ok, moving on.
I scooped out all the eggplant pith with a small spoon and chopped it up roughly. I stir-fried the pith in a wok with garlic, onions and a whole lot of vegetables, walnuts, raisins and day-old boiled rice. After mixing evenly, I filled the empty eggplants and topped off with grated yak cheese from Shangri-la. It’s not as melty as gruyere and other cheeses, it actually dries up if left too long in the heat, but it retains the nice strong flavour that we like. Anyway it’s the only viable cheese option we have around here okay so I’m declaring it awesome. (Note to all visitors: feel free to bring any cheese when you come around eh??)
I brushed some olive oil on the foil before placing the eggplants into the oven for about 30mins on 180 degrees. On hindsight, I should have left the eggplant in the oven a little longer, or perhaps I should have put it on a grill instead of a tray for more even cooking. Anyway, I don’t know if it would still qualify as a Greek dish, regardless, it was pretty yummy!
2 large eggplants (halved, pith removed and chopped)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1 big tomato, deseeded and chopped
Handful of any kind of mushrooms, chopped
2 stalks of spring onions and coriander, chopped
1/2 a cup of raisins
1/2 a cup of walnuts (or whatever nut you’re into these days, men not included)
1 cup of rice
1 cup grated cheese of your choice
Heat oil in wok and fry garlic and onions until fragrant. Add in all the other ingredients, adding the pith last as it cooks very quickly, stir fry for about 5-7 mins. Add salt, pepper and any herbs you fancy for taste. Add some water or chicken stock if it gets too dry. Once cooked and mixed evenly, set aside. In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Fill the empty eggplants with the filling and top them up with the grated cheese. After about 30 minutes or till the cheese has melted completely and looks like cheesy lava, oozing and bubbling down the sides of the Mount Eggplant. 🙂