Updated: Feb 18, 2020
The biggest challenge I face partnering with The Simpler Living is creating easy to put together recipes yet yummilicious at the same time. As they will be selling these as set lunches ultimately, the recipes need to be simple. On top of that challenge is to design recipes around keto and vegan. But I am glad that I am able to produce these recipes and be able to share with you lovely people.
Truth be told, I used to dislike eggplant. I began to fall in love with them only when I learn how to cook. I began learning how to actually prepare and cook them properly. So imagine, the eggplants I used to eat were either undercook or overcook. The most important preparation step is to coat them with salt and allow the bitter moisture release from the eggplants. I hope you will keep this in mind next time when you are cooking eggplants.
You can use any kinda ground meat you desire; I am just using ground chicken. I am using a very simple tomato sauce too. Personally I prefer retaining the fresh fruitiness of the tomatoes, hence, I just infused the tomatoes with infused olive oil. Cool huh? An infusion within an infusion. Some will cook their sauce for hours and some don't even cook at all. It is your preference and this is how I always do it. Anyway, why don't we get to the recipe?
Olive Oil, 1/4 Cup
Garlic Thinly Sliced, 1 Clove
Chili Flakes, Pinch
Italian Seasoning, 1/2 TSP
Canned Diced Tomatoes, 14oz
Sea Salt, Pinch
Black Pepper, Pinch
Dried Mushroom Powder, Pinch
Eggplant, 4 Large
Canola / Peanut / Vegetable Oil, For Cooking
Ground Chicken, 300g
White Pepper, Pinch
Low Moisture Mozzarella Freshly Shredded, A Good Handful
Parmigiano Reggiano Freshly Grated, A Handful
Fresh Basil Coarsely Chopped, For Garnishing
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
In a skillet or pan over the lowest heat possible, add olive oil.
Add in garlic, chili flakes and Italian seasoning.
The garlic should barely be sizzling.
*If the garlic is sizzling, the heat is too high.*
Let the oil infused with the ingredients for about 10 to 15 mins or until the garlic starts to brown.
Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl of canned diced tomatoes.
*You can pass the oil mixture thru a fine sieve to catch all the garlic, chili and seasonings.*
Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt and pepper.
Dust some mushroom powder over the top.
Give it a quick stir to combine well.
Cover with cling film and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
*This tomato sauce can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.*
Preheat oven to 200 degree celsius or 400 fahrenheit.
Slice the eggplants lengthwise to 6 slices per eggplant.
Lay the eggplant slices on a wire rack.
Lightly seasoning with salt.
Set aside for about 15 mins. This will allow the eggplant to release some of its bitter moisture.
Pad the eggplant slices dry.
Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Season with more salt and pepper.
Wack in the oven and roast for about 15 mins.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool down slightly.
*Do not off the oven yet.*
In the meantime, drizzle some oil onto a skillet over medium heat.
Once the oil is heated up, add in the ground chicken.
Using a spatula to break the chicken into bits and pieces.
Season generously with salt, white pepper and mushroom powder.
Cook the chicken until slightly brown.
Add in about 1 cup of the tomato sauce.
*Depending on what consistency you are looking for. If you prefer saucy, add more tomato sauce.*
Stir to combine well.
Lastly, taste and adjust for seasonings.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Spoon some of the tomato-chicken sauce onto a slice of eggplant.
Sprinkle some mozzarella over the top.
Lay another slice of eggplant on top of the cheese.
Repeat the layering process until you have a stack of 3 eggplants.
Scatter some parmigiano over the top.
Repeat the process for the remaining eggplants.
Wack back into the oven and bake until the cheeses have melted.
Remove from the oven.
Transfer onto serving plates.
Garnish with some basil over the top.