Impossibly delicious, these Spiced Eggplant Brunch Pitas are the start of my new regime in the lead up to Christmas. While we navigate the festive merry-go-round I want to keep my food quick, simple but sumptuous. With steamed eggplant tossed in cumin and coriander spices, hummus, mint and a yoghurt dressing on warm spiced pitas, these rounds are quick, easy and ridiculously yum. A good start to the season if I say so myself.
I can’t believe it’s December. At the risk of sounding like a total cliché – where did the year go? This time last year the Elf was still finding her walking feet, dummy firmly fixed within a semi-toothless mouth. This year she is a bona fide little person with opinions and a steely will; fiercely independent but with such a kindness to her soul she leaves me wanting to tear my hair out one minute and engulf her in my arms the next. Next year, she will be different again. As too will I.
So I don’t miss any of this magical time in her little life, I want to simplify the lead up to Christmas as much as possible. Starting with the kitchen. There will be cookies, there will be puddings and there will be food for entertaining in abundance not to mention the main event, Christmas Day, but we are keeping it simple and delicious. The next few weeks will be spent creating memories not fretting over food.
Let’s begin with my spiced eggplant brunch pitas. Between Christmas errands these are super quick and simply wonderful. Silky soft steamed spiced eggplant sitting on a swirl of hummus, drizzled with a lemony yoghurt dressing and finished with fresh mint; ready in the time it takes to cook the eggplant, which is no time, this brunch treat can be an anytime feast.
I call these little guys spiced eggplant brunch pitas because we used to serve something similar in the cafe I ran with my family. Didn’t know that did you? I used to co-own a cafe and my brother-in-law was the chef. He put delicious spiced pitas with hot spiced oil and a fried egg on our breakfast/brunch menu and they were stupendous.
My version substitutes the fried egg for soft and creamy steamed eggplant tossed in exotic ground cumin and coriander. If you haven’t tried steamed eggplant, you are in for a treat. Eggplant fried absorbs so much oil creating a flavour conflict while steaming the eggplant cooks it to silky perfection and maintains the eggplant’s delicate flavour. I used a only little seasoned oil, barely a teaspoon, to coat the eggplant in the spices. This technique is healthier and only adds to the dish’s wonderful flavours and texture.
Add homemade hummus or quicker yet, store-bought, a garlic and lemon infused vegan yoghurt dressing, fresh mint and this simple, balanced and completely addictive breakfast, lunch or light dinner is complete. Let the wonderfully silly season begin. Enjoy.
Spiced Eggplant Brunch Pitas
- 1 medium to large eggplant sliced in to batons
- 3-4 wholemeal pita pockets
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds divided in to three portions a small pinch for each pita will do
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin divided in to two 1/4 teaspoon portions
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 garlic clove finely chopped
- juice of 1 lemon plus more for serving
- 3 tablespoons vegan or regular natural yoghurt
- sea salt
- hummus around 1/2 cup
- Olive oil
- 3 - 4 fresh mint leaves finely sliced
- To steam the eggplant, fill a saucepan 1/4 full with water and bring to a slow boil on the stove top.
- Line a bamboo steamer with parchment or baking paper. If you have stacked steamers, line both. If not, you'll need to cook the eggplant in batches unless you have a large steamer.
- When the water has come to a boil, place the eggplant batons in to the steamers evenly (not stacked).
- Steam for 10 - 15 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked through. To check, carefully press the sides, if they are soft the eggplant is ready.
- While the eggplant is cooking place the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin and a pinch of seat salt in a bowl and combine.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Brush a tiny amount of olive oil on to one side of each of the pita breads.
- In a small fry pan or skillet dry fry a portion of the cumin seeds for 30 seconds, add a small pinch of sea salt and finally press a pita bread down on to the pan for around 25 seconds. Repeat with the other pitas.
- Place the pitas on a plate.
- Using the same pan, add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, the remaining dried cumin and ground coriander.
- Remove the cooked eggplant and toss (including the juices from the parchment paper) in to the spiced oil. Stir gently to coat and turn off the heat.
- To serve, dollop a good amount of hummus on to each pita and spread.
- Spoon the eggplant directly on top equally and drizzle with the yoghurt dressing.
- Season again with a small amount of sea salt, sprinkle with mint and serve.