Patlajan yemi (aubergine dinner)

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Aubergines are so versatile, and feature a lot in Turkish cooking. They have a real meatiness about them and they are great at absorbing flavours. Aubergines are a great source of fibre, which most of us are not getting enough off. A 100g serving of aubergine contains 2.7g fibre, ideally we need 30g a day. Aubergines have a lovely deep purple colour, and the colour comes from nasunin, which is thought to be a very powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that are vital in protecting the body.

Feeds 4

Ingredients
3 Aubergines
3 large ripe tomatoes (if you don’t have fresh tomatoes then just add more tin tomatoes)
½ tin chopped tomatoes
1 garlic bulb
1 white medium size onion finely chopped
3 small long red peppers (remove seeds), finely chopped
olive oil

 

Method
1. Wash the aubergines and slice them thinly. Place them in a tray and soak in salty water for 20 mins.
2. Finely chop up an onion. In a thick bottom pan, add some olive oil and sauté until the onions start to soften.
3. Peel garlic cloves and toss them whole with the onions.
4. Now add the chopped red peppers and sauté on a low heat
5. Finally add the tomatoes, and allow them to soften. When simmering add a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste.
6. Whilst the sauce is simmering, take the aubergines out of the salty water and soak up any extra water with a tea towel. Brush the slices with olive oil on both sides. Line the aubergines in a tray and place in a pre-heated over and cook 10 mins on both sides.
7. Take the tray out and cover the aubergines in the sauce, cover the tray in foil and put in the oven for another 30 mins.

This dish is traditionally eaten with bulgur wheat and Greek yoghurt. Shirley has a number of variations on this dish, sometimes she slices courgettes and layers it over the aubergines like a mini-mousakka. On other occasions she tops the aubergines with a traditional Turkish cheese called Peynir made from sheep milk.

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