Restaurant Riff: Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Chickpeas and Garlic-Yogurt Sauce

26 May

Often, when my parents come to visit me we go to this great Lebanese restaurant in Arlington that serves small plates meant for sharing. It’s an awesome way to enjoy a meal because we get to taste lots of different things and try new dishes every time.

But there are definitely some items that are regular favorites. One is a variation of a dish called fatteh; roasted eggplant with a garlic-yogurt sauce and crispy chickpeas. It’s sooo good we order it twice in the same meal sometimes. I was craving it this week and decided to see if I could create a variation at home.

This recipe requires only a few simple ingredients, but it turns into something magical as the roasted components in combination with the creamy sauce create a range of different flavors and textures.

Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Chickpeas and Garlic-Yogurt Sauce

Crispy Chickpeas

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (or more if you like spicier food)

Roasted Eggplant

  • 2 small eggplant (I used graffiti eggplant, but Chinese eggplant would work well)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh parsley or sumac

Garlic-Yogurt Sauce

  • ¾ cup plain yogurt (any fat content works)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the drained chickpeas on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and dry-roast for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and toss with a small amount of olive oil (maybe a tsp. or two), then add the cumin, coriander, curry powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt and stir to coat the chickpeas.

Return the chickpeas to the aluminum foil-lined sheet pan and roast for 30 more minutes, shaking the pan every 10 minutes to prevent burning.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Now onto the eggplant! Cut the eggplants in half length-wise and then score with a diamond pattern, taking care not to cut through the skin.

Drizzle the eggplant with the olive oil, then rub on the minced garlic, and sprinkle with salt.

Roast for 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft.

While the eggplant is roasting, combine the yogurt, garlic, and salt in a large bowl and stir well to combine.

To assemble the dish, place the eggplant, cut side up on a serving plate. Drizzle on the yogurt sauce and then top with the crispy chickpeas and chopped parsley or sumac. Finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The roasted eggplant is sweet and soft, the yogurt creamy and tangy, and the chickpeas add a perfect salty crunch. It’s a dish that hits all the notes for sure.

As an added bonus, the crispy chickpeas in this recipe make a great snack. I keep them in a jar behind the counter at the pharmacy and grab some every few hours as a quick pick-me-up.

I love being inspired by other chefs and am excited to have created my own riff on something I enjoy so much. (Now I can have it anytime, woohoo!) Hope you try this one out—maybe even see how it tastes with different spices on the chickpeas. Take my spin, make it your own, and enjoy it soon.

Ciao for now,

Neen

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