This is not your average bowl of eggplant stew. It’s delicious, made with just a few ingredients, and seasoned with a South African Braai spice rub.
The spice rub is made homemade and adds amazing flavor to a very simple dish that you will enjoy No Doubt!
FOR THE MOOD
For the eggplant
- Kosher Salt
- Olive Oil
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh oregano
For the Braai Spice rub
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Brown Sugar
- Ground Cloves
- Garlic Powder
- Chili Powder
STEWING EGGPLANT INSTRUCTIONS
Dice the eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Place eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle with salt to draw out excess moisture. Leave sitting for about 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant in a colander with cold water and then pat dry.
Heat oil in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add eggplant, oregano, thyme, and spice rub.
Cover and simmer over low heat stirring frequently for 45-60 minutes. Add extra seasoning as you go.
Braai Spice Rub
Mix ingredients well in a bowl
Don’t skip the salting step. Drawing out the moisture is essential to avoiding a mushy texture.
I usually grill it, roast it, but here I went for stewed eggplant partly because I wanted more of that meaty texture and quite honestly I just didn’t want to put in much effort.
The great thing about eggplant is that the entire fruit is edible including the seeds and skin. I tend to leave the skin on since it contains its most valuable nutrient, a powerful antioxidant called nasunin.
Skin however, can be bitter. Stewed eggplant is the perfect remedy for this. Stewing not only rids the bitterness, but also allows the different flavors to come together.
The other benefit of keeping the skin on is it helps during cooking to keep the texture intact. The slow simmering process doesn’t break the eggplant down into that mushy texture of let’s say a Middle Eastern baba ganoush.
Because eggplant absorbs oil well, it can easily take on the flavor of the other ingredients used with it. The eggplant takes on the smokey and sweet heat character of the spice rub. The fresh thyme and oregano help to round out the flavor by adding that herbal element.
WHAT IS BRAAI RUB?
Braai is a South African thing and is their equivalent to barbecue. It can also refer to the actual grill or the social gathering where meat is grilled on the braai, as in “hey, come over to my house cause we’re having a braai.”
A few years back during a visit to Morocco, my wife and I were on a food tour with a South African family. As we ate smoked lamb during one of the stops, we bonded and shared stories of the barbecue traditions of our respective home cultures.
Obviously, this is a recipe for stewed eggplant, so no grilling is involved. However, I recreated a version of the spice rub used to season meats for a typical Braai. I retained some of the instructions from my South African food tour companions and added my own tastes developed from the many Texas bbq rub recipes I’ve made over the years.
The use of cloves, nutmeg, and allspice are your typical South African Braai spice rub spices, but I added that Texas element which features a lot of pepper, garlic and chili powder. Now keep in mind a rub such as this is typically used on different meats including pork, lamb, and beef. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it worked in my keto eggplant recipe.
Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
make this eggplant
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- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 eggplant peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Braai Spice Rub
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- Place eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle with salt to draw out excess moisture for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse in a colander with cold water and pat dry.
- Heat olive oil in saucepan on medium low heat.
- Add eggplant, oregano, thyme and spice rub
- Cover and simmer over low heat stirring frequently for 45-60 minutes.
Braai Spice Rub
- Mix ingredients well in a bowl