The other night Mr Firehouse and I were having leftover Chinese take-away for dinner. As carefree as I often am with what Mr C eats, I thought it too early to introduce him to MSG. So I cooked a simple vegetarian stirfry with some home-made plum sauce that I knew he liked. You see, one of the things that I read and totally loved in the many parenting, books, websites and blogs I’ve perused is to always include a “loved food”. Something that you know the child will eat. With Callum fruit is a safe bet so plum sauce it was. I added broccoli, capsicum and carrot and finally added some fried eggplant I had on hand. He tasted the carrot, sucked on the broccoli and capsicum but by the end of the meal, there was not an eggplant in sight.
This was exciting! When I first met Mr Firehouse, he did not eat eggplant. Hated it. Would pick it out or not even serve it on a plate. It’s taken nearly five years of marriage to convert him to an eggplant lover. Seems like my son was born one!
So today for dinner I decided to make a sweet and spicy eggplant dish to go with our Moroccan Meatballs. It’s simple, delicious and like most things cooked with eggplant, improves with a little age.
- 3-4 small eggplants chopped into batons (like thick chips or fries)
- 1/2 cup of oil for frying (this will vary)
- 1/2 red onion finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small red capsicum (pepper) sliced
- 1 tbsp. cumin ground
- 1.5 tbsp. brown sugar (or honey, we’re honey free because Mr C shouldn’t have honey till he’s a little older)
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large frying pan or skillet add a little of the oil and fry the eggplant in batches until the outside has a nice golden brown colour and the eggplant is nice and soft. Make sure the oil is very hot, as the eggplant will absorb cold oil. As you add the next batch, you might have to add some more oil as well to keep the ‘frying’ going.
Once all the eggplant is fried off, leave to drain on a paper towel for about a half hour. This isn’t critical but helps to get rid of excess oil and make the dish less oily.
In the same fry pan add a tbsp. of oil and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onion is soft. Add the cumin and fry until nice and fragrant. Finally add the honey/brown sugar, vinegar and a splash of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and wait for the mixture to start boiling. When the mixture is boiling add the eggplant and the capsicum and warm through. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with some fluffy white rice or flat bread.