Iraqi Eggplant with Garlic & Mint Yogurt Sauce

Baraka’s Culture Kitchen Kit will surely feed an army, but what if you wanted a few more pieces to fill out your diningroom table?  Then you have to have Baraka’s Eggplant with garlic and mint sauce.  A staple recipe in Baraka’s home, here at Culture Kitchen, and soon we hope your home too.  Get the recipe below and get cooking!

Ingredients:

2 Large eggplants
1 handful of mint
2 cups yogurt
salt
Corn oil (for frying, feel free to use your standard high burning point oil)

Tools Needed:

Measuring cups and spoons, a medium-sized mixing bowl, and a large fry pan (Note: if you do not have a large fry pan, you can use a smaller one, but you will need to fry the eggplant in smaller batches).

Instructions:

Wash the eggplants and cut off the tops. Using a knife, peel the skin in stripes from top to bottom. The end result should have a white and purple stripe pattern.

Cut the peeled eggplants in half horizontally and again lengthwise into slices, about 1/3 inch thick.

Lay out eggplant slices in a large dish and sprinkle them with 3-4 tablespoons of salt. The salt pulls the water out of the eggplants, which helps them brown while frying. Move the eggplant around every 10 minutes to evenly distribute the salt and remove as much water as possible. Drain the water as it collects in the bottom of the dish. Allow the eggplant to sit for up to an hour.

While the eggplant is sitting, wash and pick off all the leaves of mint. Reserve the flowering buds at the top of a stem for garnish. Roughly chop the larger mint leaves.

Peel and mince 4 to 5 cloves of garlic. You want to make the pieces as tiny as possible to mix throughout the sauce.

Combine the yogurt, mint, and garlic and mix thoroughly.

Once the eggplant has had a chance to sit for about an hour, heat 1/4 cup corn oil in a pan over medium to high heat until very hot.

Using your hands, squeeze as much water as possible out of the eggplant pieces.

Slide the eggplant slices into the oil at a shallow angle to prevent splattering and fry in batches until golden brown, flipping once (about 2 minutes on each side).

Depending on how high the heat and how hot the oil, the eggplant may cook more quickly or slowly. Also, the eggplant will continue to “cook,” deepening in color even after it has been removed from the oil.

Remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside to cool completely before topping with the yogurt.

Do not drain oil from the eggplant on a paper towel as you need the oil from the eggplant for the correct flavor and texture.

Once the eggplant slices are fully cooled, arrange them flat on a serving dish and spread the yogurt sauce on top. Garnish with the reserved mint buds and serve.

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