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Aubergine, brinjal, melongene, garden egg, guinea squash, baingan, melanzana… whatever name you call them, eggplants are awesome. Wikipedia tells me that eggplants, being the night shades that they are, are a relative of the tobacco plant, which might explain my addiction to them (although you’d need to eat thirty pounds in order to get the nicotine equivalent of one cigarette, I still think they are crave-worthy, and certainly better for you!) I was looking for a new eggplant recipe to try and came upon a few really cool dishes from other cultures, so this week I’m going to do three posts about eggplant recipes from different ethnic cuisines. It seems that just about every corner of the globe has their own signature dish to showcase the giant purple berry. First up is a tomato/eggplant dip from Morocco, which can be eaten hot or cold. It’s spicy and rich, perfect for scooping onto pita chips or flatbreads. You can also serve it hot over some rice, or rolled up in a lavash wrap with some shredded cabbage for a quick meal. One generous serving of this yummy spread is about 150 calories.

Moroccan Zaalouk

Makes 3 meal sized servings, 6 appetizer sized servings

1tbs olive oil

1 eggplant

3 large ripe tomatoes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp harissa

2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/3 cup fresh cilantro and parsley, mixed

Juice from 1 lemon wedge

3/4 cup water

Peel the eggplant and tomatoes and chop them up.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium/high heat and add the eggplant, tomatoes, and spices, stirring occasionally.

After about 20 minutes, add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring. If the mixture starts to stick and dry out, add a splash of water, only 1/4 cup at a time as needed.

After another 15 minutes, add the cilantro, parsley, and lemon and cook for 5 more minutes. Smash the eggpplant and tomoto a bit with the back of a fork or potato masher to break them down. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Garnish with a little olive oil and fresh chopped parsley if desired.

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