Grilled Aubergine Mediterranean Sandwich



Med Sandwich 1

Raise your hand if you get midnight hunger pangs. (Those with your hands down, I’m seriously judging you right now). The other day, whilst watching a tedious movie that went on for 3 and a half hours, I caught myself focussing on the main character’s lunch plate instead of his dialogues. (Happens, right?)

It was past midnight and the day’s dinner was wiped off a little earlier that night. I found myself staring emptily inside the refrigerator and just when I was about to abandon mission ‘don’t attack junk food’, I spotted it. Fat, purple and quite hapless looking. It was time to have a midnight date with the poor aubergine.

Agreed, the idea needed a tad bit extra effort for midnight hunger pangs but poor Aubergine! Thankfully I had some cottage cheese, candied walnuts and leftover salad from lunch in the refrigerator. A Mediterranean sandwich idea felt like a divine intervention.

I suggest you pick poor Auby over that tempting bag of cheese puffs next time and give this sandwich a chance. Fine, I know cheese puffs win anyway but try it when you’re feeling the love towards your digestive system.

Med sandwich 3 

Ingredient list: (Can be made vegan without the cottage cheese)

  • Aubergine
  • Bell Peppers
  • Red Onions
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Candied Walnuts (optional)
  • Lettuce: Ribbons
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Dried Herbs : Any
  • Bread : Slices (I used honey-oat) 

For the salad:

I stir fried some red bell peppers and red onions in olive oil with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I served it with ribbons of lettuce, crumbled cottage cheese and candied walnuts.

For the grilled aubergine:

Heat the grilling pan. Cut 1 inch thick slices of aubergine and rub them with olive oil, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley and oregano flakes. Add a tbsp. of oil in the pan and once hot place the aubergine slices on it. Grill on both sides on high heat till the slices are a little charred. Remove from the pan and sprinkle salt. On the same pan, grill some buttered slices of bread.

To assemble:

Place lettuce ribbons on the bread slices, gently lay a slice of warm grilled aubergine and over this spread the bell pepper and onion salad with crumbled cottage cheese. Sprinkle candied walnuts on top and seal the Mediterranean goodness with another slice of grilled bread.

From poor Auby to stunning Auby. It’s a date!

Med sandwich 2 

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Chinese Vegetable Dumplings

My favourite word in the English Dictionary would undoubtedly be – Dumpling.

It’s one of those words you just cannot say with an angry face. (Try it).

I can eat dumplings all day, everyday and never tire of them. Steamed dumplings, boiled dumplings, fried dumplings, vegetable dumplings, chicken dumplings, pork dumplings, Chinese dumplings, Greek dumplings, Georgian dumplings, dumplings, dumplings, dumplings…  I’m sure Kung-Fu Panda gets me.

The only time being a dumpling-hog is not favourable is when you are at a fancy restaurant, eagerly waiting for your order of dumplings… When sometime later, the basket is placed before you, promising to curb your dumpling desires… You slowly open the lid and voila! 3 tiny pebble-sized dumplings! You almost always end up ordering at least 3 more portions but then again, who is complaining?

However, the sure-shot way to be well fed with dumplings is to make dozens at home. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t really that hard to make. Plus, you can fill them up with your favourite stuffing and go crazy with different combinations.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Flour: 2 cups
  • Oil: 2 tbsps.
  • Water: as required
  • Salt: to taste

For the filling:

  • Finely chopped vegetables: 2 cups
  • Light soy sauce: 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic: 3-4 cloves, finely chopped
  • Ginger: 1 tbsp. (finely grated)
  • Oyster sauce (optional): 1 tbsp.
  • Vinegar: 1 tsp.
  • White pepper powder: ½ tsp.
  • Salt: To taste
  • Oil: To sauté

METHOD:

In some oil, sauté the garlic and ginger. Add the finely chopped vegetables (I used carrots, cabbage, onions, french beans, peppers and mushrooms). Stir them around till they are cooked. Add the sauces and seasoning. Allow the filling to cool and get on with the wrappers.

To make the dough for the wrappers, combine flour, salt and oil. Add some water and bind it to form a smooth dough. Knead well before shaping into small balls. Use a small rolling pin to roll out small flat discs. The right way to roll out the wrappers is to start from the outside, rolling inwards. The centre of the wrapper must always be the thicker than the rim so that it can hold the filling. Now add a spoonful of filling in the middle and shape it anyway you like. The half-moon shape is the easiest, where you just fold the disc into half and seal the edges. You could even make a hat shape, folding the edges of the half-moon outwards and sealing them. A lot of YouTube video tutorials are available online to help you learn different techniques of folding dumplings.

After shaping the dumplings, you could cook them in 2 ways:

One is to put them in a steamer over boiling hot water till the flour loses its opacity and the second is to drop them in salted boiling water. The dumplings will float to the top once they are cooked which is an indication for you to remove them from the water.

Make a quick dipping sauce out of soy sauce, honey, ginger and chillies or if the dumplings are making you impatient, just use some store-bought Thai sweet chilli sauce as an accompaniment. Garnish with fresh coriander and spring onion greens and serve. Dumpling warriors, attack!