Rich tomato sauce, gooey cheese, yummy mozzarella: eggplant and rice Parmigiana has them all. I recently came across this recipe from Lidia Bastianich, one of my favorite chefs, and was particularly attracted to it because it contains eggplant but it’s not fried, which eggplant usually is. And it’s elegant in its simplicity – rice, tomatoes, eggplant, cheese – but can be fancied up by adding mild or hot Italian sausage. And it can feed a bunch of hungry people if you double the recipe for a 9×13″ pan. Served with a green side salad, eggplant and rice Parmigiana makes a complete and very satisfying meal even though it’s vegetarian. And if that’s not enough, it makes great leftovers the next day. I could hardly wait to make it. The only thing that kind of surprised me was the absence of garlic and red pepper flakes, which are absolute Italian classics that Lidia almost always uses. Still, this is an amazing recipe and a must try!
Baigan choka (eggplant dip) is a robust flavoured Trinidadian side dish or vegetarian spread for flatbreads. The key to making traditional baigan choka is roasting the eggplant over an open flame and if you really want to excite the taste buds with even more flavor, you would place the eggplant on hot coals. On so many levels this is not always possible, especially if you live in temperate climates where having that fire in the middle of winter is not possible. Yes, you can always use the flame on your stove top, but if you’ve ever had to clean up that stove after – you’d never do it again. This baigan choka recipe is specifically for people who want the same sort of flavors, but with an easier and quicker method of achieving this. Students, you can even do this in a toaster oven.