Grilled eggplant can be a great treat on hot summer days. It can be eaten alone, as part of a grilled veggie platter, as a meat replacement in burgers or as an accompanying dish in mashed form. A very famous dish in the Turkish cuisine is smoked eggplant puree or chargrilled mashed eggplant. This delicious plate is used to accompany a variety of different meat and fish dishes. Today we will look at how we to achieve a perfect chargrilled mashed eggplant and give you some ideas for recipes of delicious dishes to pair it with.
The key in preparing this side dish to perfection is to smoke it impeccably. Traditionally eggplants are cooked and smoked over open fire to get the smoky flavor, which is what makes this dish so exquisite. The skin of the eggplants burns and the flesh inside becomes soft and tender.
If you don´t have open fire to smoke your eggplants, don´t despair, you can either use your BBQ or a simple gadget invented in Turkey to achieve the same effect by using a kitchen burner. The “kozmatik” is a steel base with holes in it, you can put the eggplant inside and smoke them without the usual mess of cooking over an open fire.
What do you need for the eggplant puree?
- 4 medium purple eggplants
- 2 cups whole milk yoghurt
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
How to prepare the puree?
- Place the eggplants directly over the burner on medium heat and roast them for about 20minutes while turning them occasionally.
- Turn as often as necessary so that all sides cook evenly and the skin is evenly chargrilled. Keep roasting until the skin is burnt and the inside flesh is soft.
- Take off the eggplants and let them cool in a bowl. Once they are cool, peel and discard the burnt skin and leave the inside in the bowl to drain the juices.
- Cut the flesh of the eggplants and mix with the garlic, salt and pepper.
- Just before serving, add the olive oil in a pan and reheat the eggplant and garlic puree until it is warm. Turn the heat off, add the yoghurt and stir well.
If you want you can cook the eggplants a day ahead of time, in that case just add the juice of half a lemon after mashing the eggplant flesh, this will help to retain its color. Cover and keep in the fridge until you make the salad.
Here are some dishes that require chargrilled mashed eggplant:
- Lamb stew: this is a speciality from Southern Turkey. The eggplant and yoghurt puree will be the base for the lamb stew served with grilled vegetables and plain rice.
- Mashed eggplant dip: baba ganoush is an amazing eggplant puree dip which is usually served with vegetables, baked pita chips, or sliced bread.
- Eggplant tomato salad: the chargrilled eggplant is cut into pieces and mixed with tomatoes and grilled peppers.
Have you ever tried smoked eggplant puree? If so, what did you think?