Yemenite Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Many people are familiar with the Neapolitan version of eggplant in tomato sauce, but this Yemeni version has a bit more kick to it. Both utilize garlic and tomato, but the addition of cumin, paprika, and other spices makes this eggplant recipe one you'll truly savor.
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons additional oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 3/4 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped or 2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, drained
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste, optional
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Cut peel from eggplant. Remove ends. Cut eggplant into 3/8 inch crosswise slices.
- Sprinkle slices lightly but evenly with salt on both sides and put in a colander.
- Place colander over a bowl. In addition, place a second bowl on top of the eggplant slices in the colander. Put something heavy inside this second bowl. Let weighted eggplant drain for 30 minutes.
- Turn the eggplant slices over at this point and continue the weighting, draining process for another 30 minutes.
- Pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat oil for onions in saucepan.
- Add onion and sauté over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until onions are soft and light golden.
- Add cumin, paprika, and turmeric.
- Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and cayenne. Stir well.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook over low heat, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until tomatoes are very soft.
- Add tomato paste. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of remaining oil and sauté half the eggplant for 2 minutes on each side.
- Set sautéed eggplant aside and continue sauting procedure with remaining eggplant.
- Lightly oil a shallow 5-cup baking dish.
- Arrange alternate layers of eggplant and sauce, ending with sauce.
- Bake 30 minutes or until eggplant is very tender, basting occasionally. Serve hot or at room temperature.