Diane Prather: Over a Cup of Coffee

This week's recipe for "Eggplant Kuku," a Persian dish, comes after Shirley Stehle, of Craig, requested eggplant recipes. This recipe was sent in by Heidi Balaraman, of Colorado Springs.

You'll need 2 eggplants, about 2 pounds. To remove the bitterness from the eggplants, peel them and cut each into 5 lengthwise slices. Soak in a large bowl of water to which 2 tablespoons of salt has been added. Soak for 20 minutes, drain/ rinse in cold water, and pat dry.

Brush all sides of the eggplant with egg white. You'll need 1 egg white.

In a non-stick skillet, brown the eggplant on both sides in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Remove from the skillet, cool and mash with a fork.

In the same skillet, lightly brown 2 large onions (peeled and thinly sliced) and 2 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed) in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Add to the mashed eggplant.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron in 1 tablespoon hot water. Heidi says you can substitute turmeric for the saffron. It's for color only.

Break 4 eggs into a bowl. Add the saffron, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional), 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper. Beat thoroughly with a fork. Add the eggplant mixture to the eggs. Mix thoroughly. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into an 8-inch non-stick, ovenproof baking dish and place it in the oven to heat the oil. Pour in the egg mixture and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Remove the dish and gently pour 1 tablespoon olive oil over the egg mixture. Put the dish back in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes longer, until golden brown.

Serve kuku in the baking dish or unmold it by loosening the edge with a knife and inverting it onto a serving platter.

Kuku can also be cooked on top of the stove. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet, pour in the egg mixture, then cook, covered/ over low heat until it has set {about 25 to 30 minutes). Cook the second side by cutting the kuku into wedges and turning them over, one by one. Add the rest of the oil, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Heidi says she got the recipe from "Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen" by Najmieh Batmangly. Thanks, Heidi.

If you have recipes to share, requests, or comments, call me at 824-8809 or write to me at Box 415, Craig 81626.

Copyright Diane Prather/ 2007. All rights reserved.

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