Sweet and Sour Eggplant and Red Pepper Dish

Posted by hsimpsongrossman on October 27, 2013

Everybody knows I love eggplant.

It is not unusual for me, when invited to family and friends’ gatherings,  to find a note attached to the invitation saying: “oh, please come, there’s loads of eggplant stuff on the menu!”, or alternatively: “Hannah, listen I could only squeeze one eggplant salad in – the father of the bride is allergic, sorry!”.  And the best way to twist the knife when I could not make it to a party is to list all those never before sampled (by me, at least) eggplant entries which I have missed.

The rumor about this kink of mine has gone viral (I hope my kids are reading this- I’m using modern language guys! (which by now is probably “so 2012”)), and friends in the Forum post eggplant recipes especially for me.  Every now and then I wake up to a post in said forum titled “Hannah, look what I found for you – have you ever tried this method of cooking eggplant?”.

That’s is how this Sweet and Sour Eggplant and Red Pepper Dish ended in my kitchen. One of my Forum friends, a member who chose the intriguing nickname “Mrs.2na” and who has provided me with many other winning recipes (and believe it or not – not all involving eggplant), said I must try this one out.  I am happy I heeded her advice as I find myself making this dish for our Sabbath meals once every two-three weeks.

I eat it warm, as a side dish, with rice, cuscus or bulgur, at room temperature as a quick snack or cold as a salad, with a piece of fresh baguette or slice of Challah bread.

Mrs.2na said she had received the recipe from her aunt, who uses zucchini rather than eggplant every now and then (blasphemy..).  Mrs.2na’s aunt adds pitted green olives to either version.

This dish is basically a variation of Caponata, a Sicilian eggplant dish.  Mrs.2na’s aunt’s version is a bit quicker than the traditional versions I’ve found, as it uses tomato paste rather than chopped tomatoes and it excludes traditional additions such as fresh basil and optional additions such as capers, sliced celery stalks, carrots.

I’ve altered the recipe a bit – I like to use peppers in as many colors as I can put my hands on (yellow, orange and red – not the green ones, their slight bitterness doesn’t sit well with this dish in my opinion), I’ve reduced the amount of sugar, substituted Mirin vinegar for regular one and add some sweet paprika as well as dried chili flakes.

Recipe on the Spot: Chop eggplants, peppers and garlic.  Saute on low flame.  Add spices and such. Voila!

Sweet and Sour Eggplant and Red Pepper Dish

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients:

2 large onions, sliced

6-7 cloves garlic, sliced

4 sweet peppers (red/orange /yellow – a combination thereof), cut into large chunks

4 medium eggplants (no need to peel), cubed into large cubes (into about 1*1 inch)

4 Tbs  olive oil

1 Tbs  sugar

6 Tbs Mirin or rice vinegar (regular vinegar will do as well )

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 tsp sweet paprika

A pinch of dried chili flakes or 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

Sauté onions and peppers in olive oil over medium heat until soft and lightly golden.

Add the sliced ​​garlic and fry for another minute.

Mix the cubed eggplants in.

Pour the tomato paste over the vegetables -no need to mix, cover the pot and cook over low heat until the eggplant cubes softens about, 30 minutes.  No need to add water- the vegetables will exert liquids while cooked and adding water will dilute the flavors of the vegetables.

When the eggplant cubes are tender add vinegar, sugar and other spices, stir and cook, uncovered, for 5 more minutes on low heat .

Serve cold, warm or at room temperature, as a salad or a side dish.

Filed under Salads

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