Today I made a 'Mediterranean' lunch.
Socca is actually a southern French dish- a thin, crispy chickpea flour pancake. The eggplant dish was inspired by something I had the other day at Moshé's Café. It was a flavourful, cold but cooked eggplant salad with tomato and loads of spices. Raita is actually Indian and is just whipped up plain yoghurt with spices mixed in.
After searching through a few eggplant recipes, I decided to combine a few ideas and create my own (:O I am rarely able to invent a recipe...). The result was warm and delicious.
The Socca turned out yummy, but not right at all! It was much too thick (but when I made it thinner it snapped) and it took forever to cook. But it tasted like a 'cheela'-- a similar, thinner Indian dish which I adore.
The dip is the simplest and it's made all according to your tastes. Even my sister, who has always stubbornly refused to touch raita, loved it!
It was a long and messy process, and my mum and sister were kind enough to wait patiently while I made loads of noise and kept telling them 'It's almost done!'
Have a go, and enjoy a warm, cool, filling and refreshing meal.
(Adapted from Plums In The Icebox. She made them with a parsley dip, which I'd love to try)
Note: my soccas took at least 15 minutes to cook and didn't turn black like the recipe said. They remained quite soft, thick and slightly crumbly but browned a little at the edges. Because of how fat they were, everyone could barely finish 2 thirds of a socca.
makes 2 soccas
Total time: 10-12 minutes
Hands-on time: 5-7 minutes
2 cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
healthy sprinkle of sea salt
healthy sprinkle of cumin powder
healthy sprinkle garlic powder
4 tablespoons olive oil
Heat a broiler (or the top grill of your oven).
Warm some oil in a round cast-iron skillet for a couple of minutes.
My skillet isn't oven-proof, so I used a round cake pan instead.
Try and remove the lumps, but even though mine was lumpy the batter worked.
Pour some batter into the skillet and place it under the broiler to cook.
I would like to try and cook this with a skillet on the stove, like crepes or pancakes, and see if it cooked better.
Slice up and sprinkle sprinkle some salt and pepper.
Lessons learnt: Pour the batter thin
Don't put baking paper when you're using the top grill
(When we were cooking the last couple of soccas, we put a layer of baking paper in the dish because the bottom was uneven because the previous soccas we had just removed had left a bunch of batter stuck to the base. In one of the dishes, the baking paper that was sticking out burnt with the flame of the top grill and there were ashes and charred paper on top of the socca!)
Eggplant and Tomato
makes a small bowlful (enough for a small side for 2 people)
4 mini eggplants or half a large eggplant
1 large tomato
1/4 large red onion
clove of garlic
Wash your tomato and eggplant and chop them into small pieces, about 1/4 inch thick, an inch long and 1/2 inch wide. (Don't measure each piece... this is just to give you a rough idea of the size!)
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
Heat a good glug of olive oil in a skillet and add a couple of teaspoonfuls of cumin. Allow some to pop and then add the onion and garlic. Cook for a minute or two continuously tossing them. Watch them closely, as they burn easily. Once they're translucent, add the tomato and eggplant. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt (depending on your taste) and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Toss in about 2 teaspoons of capers and stir nicely.
Cook for about 5-10 minutes until soft and flavourful, but not mushy. Be sure to taste the eggplant as some like it harder than others.
Just toss it up on the stove for a few minutes if you need to reheat it later.
makes: however much you want
time: less than 5 minutes
chili powder or dried flakes
This is really flexible: just scoop out however much yoghurt you want to make, mix it and add the spices! By 'mix it' I mean just whip it a little with a spoon to make it smooth and creamy.
I took about 6 tablespoons and added a good teaspoon or two of each spice. I added about a teaspoon of salt and only a tiny bit of chili, because we're not really spicy-food people. If you are, just add more! If you're making raita for an Indian meal, feel free to add fresh chopped coriander, 'boondi' (for a little crunch), or chopped cucumber. Keep it chilled until ready to serve.