Today I am going to share with you a memory from my childhood years. My grandfather, Alexis, whose name I got, is a great cook. To be completely honest, he is more an enthusiastic cook than a great one and I don’t really like all his dishes BUT the ones that I like, I am crazy about. The recipe I am sharing with you today is not one of my grandfather’s. But I used one of his tricks for the serving. See, when cooking rice, my grandfather always used a glass bowl to shape the rice into a little perfect hill. And then he poured the sauce on top and it flowed down the sides like the lava of a super-tasty volcano. I was telling that story to N. yesterday and he wondered how come a man raised in a tiny, poverty-stricken Greek village during war had such aesthetic sensitivities. I ‘he never thought about it before but I find it so romantic in a way.
That was supposed to be the intro to my recipe, but I just remembered another story regarding my grandpa and cooking, that shows just how much I love him and how passionate I am about his creations. And maybe it also shows how cuckoo I have gone during the final stage of my diploma project. Here it goes: I was with my friend A. (Loulou’s non-religious godmother) and we were working hard on said diploma project. We hadn’t slept more than 4 hours for many many weeks and we survived on coffee and cigarettes. We were chatting about food while doing technical drawings and somehow I mentioned that my grandfather was blowing kisses to the egg-lemon sauce, while it cooked, to make sure that it would become homogeneous and the egg whites wouldn’t cluster. She made fun of my grandfather’s practice and somehow, out of nowhere, I went crazy and started calling my mother to prove to A. that this is a practice the whole generation of our grandparents used. Then I also cried a bit (oh my god am I happy I survived this madness!).
Ok, enough with the memories. On to the recipe!
- 2 eggplants
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 pepper (I used a yellow one, for the color, but any would do)
- 1 cup rice. I used jasmine. It tasted great!
- 10-12 saffron threads
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter or dairy-free alternative
for the curry sauce
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 or 2 tablespoon curry powder (I like things spicy)
- a pinch cumin
- a pinch turmeric
- a few tablespoons fresh coriander
- 2 tomatoes chopped up
- 2 tablespoons yogurt (or dairy-free alternative)
- In a rice cooker (thanks to my Korean ex-housemate we have one!) or a pot put the jasmine rice with the saffron strands and the butter and add enough water to cover the rice. Then add 1 1/2 more cup. Let it cook.
- In the meantime cut the eggplants in cubes, the garlic cloves and onions in thin slices and the pepper in thin stripes.
- Put all the veggies in a wok with the olive oil and put the lid on. Let it cook over medium/low heat for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime put in the small pot the curry sauce ingredients (but not the fresh coriander) and let them simmer till you finish cooking the eggplants.
- Have a look at the veggies and stir. If they start to stick add a bit of boiling water (1/2 cup at a time, till they are really soft.
- Once everything is cooked, it’s time to serve. Here comes the rice trick: Take a glass bowl or glass and put in a little bit of olive oil.
- Turn the glass around to make sure the sides are greased.
- Now pack the glass tight with rice.
- Put the serving plate on top of the glass and turn them around. The rice should slide right off the glass and onto the plate.
- Arrange the eggplants around the rice and pour the curry sauce on top.
P.S.: Toddler loved it too 😉