Deliciously Ugly Aubergines

“Is that a placenta or food?” asks my sister when she sees what I have made.

Very funny, sis. This stuff happens to be de-lish, despite it’s off-putting appearances. Making it perfect for my entry in the Ugliest Gourmet Contest being hosted by Not Eating Out in New York. And the first eggplant recipe that I actually like (I have a thing about the texture).

So shut up, close your eyes and eat it. You’ll thank me when you’re done.

Augergines in Spicy Honey Sauce

Modified from Tamarind and Saffron, by Claudia Roden, via BBC Food. Aubergines is what they call eggplant outside the United States. I like saying “aubergines”. It makes me feel so, well…European.

2 medium to large aubergines
Olive oil
Kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2in fresh root ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 cinammon stick
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
A pinch of cayenne, to taste
6 tbsp honey
1 lemon or lime, juiced
1/2 cup water

1. Peel the aubergines and cut into rounds about 1/3 in thick. Dip them in olive oil, turning them over, and sprinkle with salt.
2. Cook on a griddle pan or under the grill, turning them over once, until they are lightly browned. They do not need to be very soft, as they will cook further in the sauce.
3. In a wide saucepan or frying pan, fry the garlic in 2 tbsp of the oil for seconds only, stirring, then take off the heat. Add the ginger, cinammon or cumin, cayenne, honey, cinammon stick, lemon juice and water.
4. Put in the aubergine slices and cook over a low heat, either in batches so that they are in one layer, or together – rearranging them so that each slice gets some time in the sauce – for about 10 minutes or until the slices are soft and have absorbed the sauce. Add a little more water if necessary. Serve hot.

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