Monday, May 14, 2007

Spicy chickpeas in eggplant "purses"

I have to re-think if I really hate (yes I was) salad after tasted this terrific dish - creamy (but cream-less) and spicy chickpeas stuffed inside grilled eggplants, served on a bed of juicy cherry tomatoes. These chickpeas are cooked in Pakistan style, the original recipe is called Lahori Choley shared by our great cook Asha at her blog Foodie Hope. Asha's recipes never fail to impress me, one more bonus to this recipe - really simple to make!
Since I aimed at making a salad dish, I skipped very few spices and cut down the heat (less hot chili) in the chickpeas filling, but it's still choke-full 'o spice with a bit of tomato-y and fruity flavor kicking in. About getting that creamy texture without adding cream, the trick is to mash some chickpeas and add them into the sauce. Thanks Asha to take good care of our waistline :D

Recipe: (yield: 10 "purses", or 2 servings as light lunch)
  • 1 big glossy eggplant, slice 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinse and drained
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbp tomato paste
  • spoonfuls tomato sauce
  • 1 big pod of tamarind* (original recipe calls for dry mango powder)
  • 1/4 turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seed powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam marsala
  • paprika to taste
  • some scallions
  • some cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper


Preparation work:

  • If you use tamarind, crack the pod and soak the pulp in 1/2 cup of hot-warm water for 30 minute. Throw away the seed but save the pulp and liquid
  • Soak the sliced eggplant in a big pot of tap water, add in 1 tablespoon of salt, for 30 minutes... in order to release the brown (bitter) juice from the eggplant.

Cooking the chickpeas:

*adapted from Asha's Lahori Choley *

  • Take out about 30% of the chickpeas, mash them and set aside.
  • Pre-heat a medium-size skillet, dry roast cumin and coriander powder over very low heat for a minute. And put them aside.
  • Use the same pan, heat some oil, saute the onion for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, fry over low heat for 1 minute, then add tomato paste fry for another minute. Add whole chickpeas, cumin, coriander powder, garam marsala, turmeric and paprika, saute anther 3 minutes over medium heat. Add mashed peas, tamarind pulp plus its juice, and tomato sauce as needed, bring the whole thing to boil, then lower the heat let it simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Taste and season. Scoop the chickpeas in a big bowl and let them cool off.

Grill eggplant & assemble the "purses"

  • Pre-heat the grill, brush oil, grill eggplant over medium to medium-high heat, take about 2 minutes on each side.
  • In a small pot bring some water to boil, blanch the scallion for 5 seconds or so, drain immediately. Set them aside.
  • On a slice of eggplant spoon in some chickpea mixture, curl up the sides of eggplant and tight it with scallion.
  • Place halved cherry tomatoes on a serving plate, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the eggplant "purses" on top to serve.



Warda said...

Once again Gattina, beautifull and mouthwatering pictures. I just love the combination of egplant and chickpea together. What a fashionable purse for this season!

Anonymous said...

I often eat eggplants with blackeyed beans but not tried it with chickpeas...hmmm...the pictures are lovely...

Anonymous said...

That is such a great looking dish. Love the presentation. Looking forward to making this.

Anh said...

What a lovely recipe! I now desperately want a "purse"... Agree with you, Asha is a very good cook... :)

Julie said...

I eat eggplant often and thanks to you I now have a new way to prepare it, This looks wonderful.

Brilynn said...

I LOVE that you made little purses out of eggplant and even tied them at the top, they look delicious!

Chris said...

I love this! And they are the best purse to have! Eat and leave without having to worry about carry-out! Yum!

Mishmash ! said...

Incredible !! From where on earth you get such ideas to make a purse out of an eggplant and then tie it with a scallion!! ABsolutely stunning! Dont want to say anything more !! YOU ARE CREATIVE!

Btw, I want one of that purses....not to eat , just to enjoy the beauty :D

sher said...

They look like adorable little coin purses! :):) Your photography just amazes me. We are so lucky to have you think up these marvelous recipes and take such care in composing the photos. It's the best show around! :):)

Nabeela said...

oh wow, what a beautiful have a very giften hand!

SteamyKitchen said...

Love the purse! Very Gucci!

FH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FH said...

Thank you so much for trying me recipe Gattina:))
You are very articulate and I love the Purse!!Choley really looks good with creamy texture,wrapping in Eggplant is a great idea too.Good job and now time for some jogging!!;D

Anonymous said...

very delicious Gattina! You are a food artist. Baci.

Bong Mom said...

You are so innovative. Chole in eggplant purses..thats so cute

Patricia Scarpin said...

It's really impossible to hate something delicious and beautiful like this, Gattina!

The way you present food is always so wonderful!

Unknown said...

Wow, such a pretty dish you made. I've run out of words to say, pretty, amazing, impressive........

Cynthia said...

This is spectacular! The creamy chickpeas (which I love) will definitely entice me to have eggplant this way. Thanks to you and Asha.

Sia said...

amazing!!! never thought abt serving chole with grilled eggplant. thanks sweetie for some new cool idea:)

DEEPA said...

wow .....excellent one ...too good ....such a different combho ....eggplant and chickpeas

Lis said...

Yum!! I love the little purses - what a great idea! Now see, I could go vegetarian if I had you cooking for me. :D


Anonymous said...


over the top and unplugged~ that's what you are.

Callipygia said...

Hey I just made some Indian chickpeas this weekend...but without those beautiful silky purses. Oh these look good and will definitely convince a non-salad eating person to reconsider.

Suganya said...

Hay those purses look so cute.....Excellent idea...There colour is making me to open the eyes wide. Nice creativity. I love it....

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Gattina you & Asha are just genius! That is really beautiful! With the eggplant and the chickpeas and those spices it would just be so good to eat!!

Saffron said...

This is a great idea. For once I don't have to spend big money for a wonderful purse!;))

Freya said...

A wonderful light lunch for one, I'd say! I love the idea of the little aubergine purses! Fabulous!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Truly, truly lovely. This is just the time of year when you want a light lunch -- perfect!

bee said...

girl, each time i visit your blog, my jaw hits the floor. you are one of the most creative food bloggers out there.

am gonna try your rice oudding with rum for sure.

Mandira said...

Such an innovative idea Gattina. I bet it tasted great too. Pictures are lovely...

Susan from Food Blogga said...

What a novel idea to tie the eggplant with the scallion! Your presentations are always so beautiful, Gattina.

Vaidya Aparna S. Pattewar said...

wooooooooow g8 blog.
I realy love ur recipes & the pictures too.Thax for sharing these......... :-)

Anonymous said...

Looks and sounds delicious! Asha is indeed a talented blogger, I'm always amazed by her energy and inspiration. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

MR said...

the pictures are absolutely stunning and the dish looks tempting.
good recipe!!

Gattina Cheung said...

Rose, thank you sweetheart :D

Dilip, I love blackeyed beans a lot! Chinese esp love putting them into soup.

Gini, thanks! Asha's chickpeas are simply a looker :)

Anh, sometimes I even dream of driving down south and meet Asha :D

Julie, great to meet another eggplant big fan *high five*

Brilynn, thanks sweetie. One more way to show my fussy-ness :) :)

Chris, I love purple color, so I can't not agree with you these are the best purse to have, heehee.

Shn, oh I'm flattered my friend. I've seen such food styling in magazines from time to time, I'm not that creative :P But your sweet words make my day, thanks with hug!

Sher, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. They are really very easy to make, although look like I had been slaving myself for hours :) :) Indian food always inspires me somehow.

Nabeela, thank you for your compliment *hug*

Jaden, thanks pretty! I should start to launch miu-miu or marc jacob too, heehee.

Asha, you live with such an excellent life style! I was a couch potato after the meal :P I'll stay tune to your on-coming creation *big hug*

Francesca, grazie!!! I will try your coloured salt later too *baci*

Sandeepa, the chickpeas really delish! Thanks for your sweet words.

Pat, maybe I like reading magazines, that help me a lot in dressing up dishes. I cherish your sweet words *big hug*

Angie, you're a great artist my pal... too bad you're too busy :(

Cynthia, Asha's chickpea is a keeper! I beg you must love it!

Sia, you guys always make great dishes, I have tons of ideas everytime I browse your blog! Thanks with hug.

Deepa, thank you... thank you... thank you very much :) :)

Lis, I'm a bad example... I love meat although I don't eat it often. Clams, oyster, squid, octupus, ribs, burgers... maybe only thinking of going veg after the bbq season eh *kiss*

Sandi, thank you sweetie :D

Calli, thank you sweetie! Eggplant is so soft and silky, really goes well with beans. Only if it doesn't soak up so much oil... *rubbing my waist*

Sakanya, I think you may like purple also?! Purple in pic somehow I feel very attractic. Thanks for your compliment :D

Tanna, you are right! The spices are wonderful, even only a fraction of what I normally cook for other indian dishes.

Saffron, thanks my friend! Purse, handbag... they are our very best friends!!!

Freya, thanks for your sweetie!

Lydia, exactly! I even don't want to turn on the oven notch... now only Spring...

Bee, thanks for your kind words :) :) Rum! Great idea! Hope your rice pudding turns out great!

Mandira, yes, they tastes superb! Asha's recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for your compliment.

Susan, thanks, you are always so sweet.

Dr. aparna, thanks for dropping by :D

Ari, agree! Asha is a great cook, and she definitely cooks a lot!

mallureipes, thanks for your visit!

Anonymous said...

I love how you made a purse and tied it with the green onion, it's so cute! Gattina, you come up with the best ideas. :)

Ilva said...

This is such a good idea!

Ana said...

Eggplants are delicious and I absolutely love chickpeas, your dish looks really good!!!