This recipe has a few steps to work through but it's well worth the effort. It's an example of nouvelle Indian cuisine, delicious and a must-try for hardcore foodies.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp wasabi paste
- pinch of asafoetida powder, chives or onion powder
- 450 g eggplant
- 1 red capsicum
- 1 yellow capsicum
- 1 banana shallot (see note)
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- ¼ cup crème fraîche
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
- 1 small makrut lime
- 2 avocadoes (1 fully ripe, 1 semi-ripe)
- 3 large roma tomatoes, diced
- 30 g tamarind
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup demerara sugar
- mixed salad leaves
- 1 whole radicchio
- fennel sprigs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: overnight
1. To make dressing, whisk ingredients together. Hang in a muslin cloth over a bowl and let it drip overnight in the fridge.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Pierce eggplant on all sides with a fork. Cover in foil and bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender.
3. Meanwhile, dice capsicum and shallot.
4. Remove stems from tomatoes and pierce other ends in a cross. Blanch for 15 seconds in salted boiling water, and refresh in iced water. Peel skins, take out the inner pulp and pat dry petals. Dice.
5. Scoop flesh from eggplants, and discard the skin. Mince the eggplant until fine. Squeeze through a muslin cloth and preserve the liquid.
6. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Add diced capsicum, shallot, garlic paste (freshly made if possible) and crème fraîche. Fold mixture well. Season well and keep in the fridge.
7. To make guacamole, take half the ripe avocado and whisk well with makrut lime juice to form a smooth paste.
8. Dice half the semi-ripe avocado and gently fold in the mixture with the tomato. Season well.
9. To make the glaze, take pulp of tamarind and place in a pan with just enough water to cover. Gently simmer until a thick smooth paste.
10. Place balsamic vinegar and sugar in a pan and reduce to a syrupy consistency. Add tamarind pulp and pass through a fine chinois or a conical sieve. Keep at room temperature and warm slightly if it gets too thick.
11. Smear tamarind glaze in a straight line with a flat pastry brush (diagonally) in centre of a flat plate.
12. Add coriander to eggplant caviar mix at the last minute. Fold it in and put it through a plating ring in the middle of the plate, leaving 1 cm from top.
13. Place guacamole on top of caviar and spread evenly with a small palette knife.
14. Dress salad with wasabi oil and place on top of the guacamole, removing ring gently.
15. Garnish with sliced radicchio and fennel tops. Drizzle asafoetida oil around. Enjoy chilled.
• Related to the onion, banana shallots are smaller than onions with a milder, sweeter flavour.