I don’t know about you, but when a cookbook author describes a dish as “Interesting”, I kind of lose interest. Especially when it’s a vegetarian recipe. I might be the only one who thinks like this but, I don’t want my food to be interesting. I want it to be delicious, scrumptious, to-die-for etc. Interesting? Not so much.
So when I saw a version of this recipe in one of my mom’s old cookbooks, I was intrigued but also a tiny bit wary. The title was “Eiervrug koekies – ‘n interessante alternatief vir Vegetariers” (directly translated from Afrikaans : “Eggplant cakes – an interesting alternative for Vegetarians”. Not exactly the right wording to make you jump off your chair and start preparing them, hey?
So not only did I rename the recipe, I also added a few ingredients and changed the methods up a bit. I haven’t salted an Aubergine for as long as I can remember and contrary to what the recipe said, I wasn’t going to do it now. The recipes also called for you to pan-fry the aubergines which I was too lazy to do, so roasting it was. The original recipe had no spices or feta cheese added but breadcrumbs, aubergine, egg and salt didn’t sound like it was going to result in the most delicious vegetarian fritter I’ve ever tasted and thinking about it now, it is actually very un-interesting!
I also decided to serve my fritters with a spicy cream cheese sauce but you can very easily stir some chilli paste into plain yoghurt for similar results (this was actually my original idea but I completely forgot to buy plain yoghurt and as cream cheese was all I had in the fridge, this had to do).
I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of these little ‘cakes’ and my aubergine loving husband loved them, except for the mint I added (he hates mint), so these will definitely be on our menu more often. They are also delicious the next day so they are perfect for lunch boxes.
Makes approximately 15 medium-sized ‘cakes’
5-6 small to medium aubergines, sliced
olive oil and salt for roasting
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups breadcrumbs
3 rounds Feta cheese, crumbled
3tbsn freshly chopped parsley
1tbsn freshly chopped mint
1 tsp paprika
1tsp ground cumin
black pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
- Place the sliced aubergines on a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and place in a very hot oven (250°c) until they are golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, sautè the onion and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients (except for the egg and the flour) in a large bowl. Chop the aubergines into cubes and add to the breadcrumb mixture, as well as the fried onion and garlic.
- Mix well and allow to stand for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes the mixture is still quite dry, add the beaten egg.
- Put the flour into a shallow bowl or plate and heat some oil in a frying pan.
- Form cakes with the aubergine mixture and then place them into the flour. Cover the cakes well and then fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Place the fried cakes on a roasting tray and keep them warm in a moderate oven.
- Serve warm with the spicy- cream cheese sauce.
For the Spicy- Cream cheese sauce:
- Combine 1 tub (250g) plain cream cheese with 1-2 tsp hot chilli paste and season to taste. Mix well.