Vegan Grandma

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vegan Walnut-Stuffed Aubergines (Eggplants), and a Little about Pomegranates

The following dish is from World Vegetarian Classics, by Ceclia Brooks Brown, published by Pavilion, page 120. The recipe is typical of cuisine of The Republic of Georgia. Walnuts, and pomegranates are often used in Georgian cooking.

Vegan Walnut-Stuffed Aubergines (Eggplants)
serves 4

Three small or two medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise about 1/3 inch thick (7 mm)
oil for frying
1 cup scant (100 g/3 ½ oz.) whole walnuts
1 garlic clove, quartered
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander), plus extra to garnish
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
½ to 2/3 cup (125-150 ml/ 4 to 5 fl oz.) tepid water
Fresh pomegranate seeds to garnish

Lightly coat the eggplant slices on each side with salt and place in a colander to drain. This helps to remove the "bite" from the eggplant. Let drain for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and put a shallow pool of oil into the pan. Let the oil get hot, but not smoking. Eggplants absorb oil easily, so getting the oil hot before adding the eggplant to the pan is essential to keep the oil absorption at a minimum. Wipe off as much of the salt as you can from the egg plants with a clean kitchen towel, and pat the eggplants dry just before putting them in the hot oil. Fry the eggplants in batches, turning with tongs until soft and light, but not crisp. Drain on paper towels, and let cool.

Put the walnuts, garlic, paprika, cilantro (coriander) in a blender or food processor. Process while adding water gradually until the mixture becomes a smooth, thick, but pourable paste. Add salt and pepper to taste, and process a minute longer to blend in the seasonings.

Place a heaping teaspoonful of the walnut sauce on one end of each eggplant slice. Fold each slice over the walnut sauce, and top with another teaspoon of paste. If the slices are long enough, make three folds, making an "S" shape with a teaspoon of sauce between each fold and on top. Arrange on a plate and garnish with coarsely chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

A Little About Pomegranates

The pomegranate is native to southwestern Asia. Pomegranate seeds can be eaten fresh or transformed into a healthy and flavorful juice. This fruit has recently been acclaimed for its health benefits due to its exceptional high antioxidant content. Preliminary studies suggest that pomegranates may inhibit the growth of breast and prostate cancer, improve blood vessel function, and protect the heart.

To separate the seeds: Inside the tough rind of a pomegranate are clusters of red, juicy seeds (known as arils). To remove the pulp-covered arils, cut off the blossom end of the fruit and then score the rind four or six times. Submerge the pomegranate in a large bowl of water and break it into segments. Working underwater, gently loosen the arils. The rind and membranes will float to the surface and the arils will drop to the bottom. A large pomegranate will have about 1 cup of arils. Be careful, pomegranate juice will stain fingers and clothes.


  • At 1:17 AM, Blogger Moe said…

    The water thing totally works.


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