This dish is very not traditionally African, but it is seen around the diaspora from time to time as an offering to Oya. It’s suspected from the tomatoes and beans that the sauce part of this may have originally been something given to a local Mesoamerican or South American storm deity. We don’t know. It does fit the requirements though in that it looks swirly, has eggplant, is brightly colored and tasty, and doesn’t have any palm oil.
- sautage, like a deep frying pan that has a lid
- 1 eggplant (large)
- 1 onion (large)
- 1 bell pepper (red or orange)
- 1 can of beans (baked beans, beans in tomato sauce, or red beans)
- 1 handfull short pasta
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon hot chili powder (can also use hot smoked paprika)
- salt (for the eggplant)
- water (as needed)
- sunflower seed oil (or light olive oil)
- dash sesame seeds (lightly roasted)
- Preparation: 30 min
- Cooking: 25 min
- Ready in: 55 min
- Trim the green prickly part an the very tip off the eggplant. Then slice the eggplant partially so that the stem end is holding the slats of the rest. The slats should be a bit less than a centimeter thick. It should dangle a little even while raw.
- Shake some salt between the slats and arrange the eggplant in a colander so that they are overlapping but not all completely covering one another. You want to leave some room for the bitter liquid to drip off.
- Place the colander over a bowl and let the eggplant "bleed" its bitterness out for an hour.
- Discard the bitter liquid. Rinse the eggplant and place it on a towel or back in the colander to dry.
- Chop the vegetables and saute them with a little oil until the onions are clear and the skin is loosening on the bell peppers.
- Put the vegetables on a separate plate or in a bowl, and add more oil to the pan. It will be tempting to overdo this but don't. You just need a teaspoon to a tablespoon to lubricate the eggplant.
- Fry the eggplant until it is just starting to be a little browned at some edges, then flip it and do the same to the other side. During this, you will want to be careful not to detach the slats from the stem end, so don't play with it too much.
- When both sides are slightly browned and the eggplant starts to soften, add the vegetables back into the pan.
- Then add the beans, the short pasta, and the tomato paste, and just enough water to make it "soupy". Every can of beans is different, so this will be a different amount for every time. Just mind the texture. You want it loose and not too thick, but not clear either.
- Add the chili powder and sesame seeds. You can add other herbs and spices, but it is already pretty flavorful as it is.
- Cover, and bring it to a boil. Then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to half an hour. You want the eggplant very tender. Again, try not to stir it too much.
- Serve this to Oya while it is still steaming.
Boiled eggs are a good side to this as are any kind of greens.
Blessings and Ashé!
Click here for this recipe with audio.
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