April 18, 2020

Spicy Eggplant Dip

By Monica Ugarte

Giving the eggplant a good char on the stove is the secret to giving this dish its addictive smoky flavor. I like to whizz all the ingredients in the food processor to give it a nice smooth texture, but if you don’t have one at home, you can serve this as a chunky dip. Simply stir in parmesan cheese and lemon juice once remove the dip from the stove. One chilli makes a mildly spicy dip. If you are a chilli addict, add another one. Dried chili flakes can also be used as a substitute. Start with 1/4 teaspoon first and add more if you would like more of a kick!

Makes 2 cups of dip

 500g eggplant
 3 garlic cloves, chopped
 1 small red chili, chopped
 3 tablespoons tomato paste
 4 anchovy fillets
 ½ tablespoon muscovado or brown sugar
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 ½ cup water
 salt and freshly ground black pepper
 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

1. Char the eggplants by placing them directly on top of two gas burners and turning the heat on. Keep cooking the eggplants until the skins get really burnt and are starting to fall apart. Remove the eggplants from the stove and let them cool down before peeling and discarding the skin. Roughly chop the flesh. Don’t worry if there are little bits of burnt skin sticking to the flesh – this adds to the delicious smoky flavor of the dip!

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili and cook until the garlic starts smelling pungent. Add the chopped eggplant and cook for 5 minutes or until the eggplant breaks down and turns mushy. Keep stirring to make sure that the eggplant doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan.

3. Add the tomato paste and anchovy fillets to the pan. Cook until the anchovies disintegrate, and the tomato paste begins to darken, about 3-4 minutes more.

4. Add the muscovado or brown sugar as well as ½ cup of water to loosen up the dip. Cook for a further minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Place the dip in the bowl of a small food processor. Add the parmesan cheese and lemon
juice. Puree and adjust the seasoning

6. You can serve this dish right away or let it cool before placing in the fridge for an hour before serving. I find that the flavor of this dip is enhanced when it is served cold. Garnish with parsley and serve with your favorite crackers and vegetable crudités.