Recipe: Home KitchenAdapted by Amber Bremner | Photography: Amber Bremner

Although the team at Home Kitchen hail from a number of countries, food served at the restaurant and cooking classes has been heavily influenced by Afghan and Arabic cooking. The catering menu includes food from Burma and Pakistan, and in the future some Colombian dishes will be added to the overall repertoire. Eggplant maghmour and ashak, or vegetable-filled Afghan dumplings, have been crowd favourites and offer a warm introduction to the team’s flavourful cooking.

Maghmour featured in the Home Kitchen tasting menu at Yalla Yalla Cafe over winter. It has bold flavours with plenty of garlic and spice, tender fried eggplant and the deep, musky flavour of dried mint. Embrace the generous quantity of olive oil used here, it provides depth of flavour and a decadent finish to this traditional vegetarian dish. This generous recipe will serve 8 easily, but you can halve the quantities for a smaller meal or enjoy leftovers for the next few days—they only improve in flavour.

2 eggplants, sliced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil + extra for frying
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 red capsicums, sliced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried mint
¼–½ tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ tsp salt
2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if canned)
2 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup water
roughly chopped fresh mint or parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Fry sliced eggplant in a generous amount of olive oil until golden on both sides. Set aside on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat in batches until all of the eggplant is cooked.

Add half a cup of olive oil to the pan. Fry onion and garlic until golden, then add sliced capsicum, tomato paste, dried mint, cayenne pepper and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until flavours have combined—about 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes and water and simmer for 15 minutes.

In an oven dish, spread half of the chickpea mixture evenly and layer with half of the eggplant slices. Top with the remaining chickpea mixture and arrange the remaining eggplant slices on the surface. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes before serving.

Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with flatbread to mop up the juices.

Read more about Home Kitchen here.

Amber Bremner is the author of popular plant-based food blog Quite Good Food. A champion for cooking and eating food that makes you feel good, she believes small changes in the way we approach food have the power to make a difference.

Quite Good Food
www.quitegoodfood.co.nz

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