A friend is traveling back to Accra tonight, and sent a picture what she is bringing back: asparagus, cauliflower, greens, Ryvita and red wine. Yes, we travel with vegetables! Accra does have vegetables, but sometimes limited options, and anything imported is SO expensive. I am thus always happy to read blogs with ingredients I can actually buy here (affordably), so I bookmarked Vegetarian Dad’s Bombay Potato Stuffed Aubergines a few months ago. He has some excellent recipes. I did intend to follow his recipe, but with eeny-weeny baby brinjals rather than big aubergines, and a movie night waiting, this as what we made instead, which was rather a detour: sliced aubergines, gently cooked, then baked in a creole-spiced tomato sauce until quite silky, with a potato topping and a smattering of cheese. Those Bombay Potato Stuffed Aubergines are still on my to-make list, though, as they look amazing.
Creole potato-topped aubergine bake (not pretty, but tasty)
12 small or 3 large aubergines (I used about 400 grammes)
40 ml sunflower oil
3 large onions, sliced
400 grammes potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbs creole seasoning (salt, red pepper, black pepper, chili, garlic)
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Optional: handful of cheese (use a vegetarian cheese if you have it)
Slice the small aubergines into 3mm or thick slices, and batch fry them on both sides in a little oil. If you have big aubergines, halve them before slicing them (mainly as this was destined for one-bowl eating in a sofa, with a fork. You may be a civilized person who eats dinner at a table and even uses a knife – then the slice dimensions are entirely up to you.) If you have olive oil, that is probably better. Do not crowd the aubergine slices. Fry until the aubergine is soft and starting to brown lightly. Take out the aubergine and put it in a baking dish (here, a square Pyrex).
Add a bit more oil, and gently fry saute the onions, garlic, diced potatoes and spices on a low heat for ten minutes. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for a further five minutes. The potatoes will still be a bit crunchy, but they are going into the oven next. (Note: I had planned to use cajun spices but was distracted and took the wrong tin…. so Creole potatoes it is! It was a rather old Creole spice mix, with black pepper, red pepper, garlic, salt – I use one tbs and did not add more salt and pepper, and you might need less spices, depending how spicy you like it. )
Heat the oven to 200C. Tip the spicy tomato-potato mix on top of the aubergine, and pop the baking dish on middle rack of the oven. I added a handful of leftover brie lurking in the fridge. The brie had been frozen and crumbled nicely. Of course, that is not generally a kind way to treat brie, but in a tropical country where cheese is expensive, freezing cheese is a tactical decision.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or so, until the tomato sauce bubbles up and the potato layer is cooked through (just past al dente) but not dry.
Optional: enjoy from a bowl in your lap, while watching “The Greatest Showman”.
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum…..