Mutton, sheep’s fat, sheep’s tail, onions, prepared mandarin orange peel (cut up each finely), “tender” eggplant (remove the pith). [For] combine ingredients with meats into a stuffing. But [instead of making a dough covering] put it inside the eggplant [skin] and steam. Add garlic, cream [or yogurt etc.], finely ground mint [or basil]. Eat.
Rationale for modification of redaction: We needed several recipes that would be vegetarian/vegan friendly. The redactions that both Master Drake and I have made of this recipe have been very well received by the guests eating them. The recipe can be fiddly and so we did not want to make them for the entire 200 guests. So we did offer a vegetarian/vegan version for those guests booked into the feast as such. I did try several meat substitutes, texture gluten, and mushrooms to come to the following recipe. By far, the trial group liked the mild flavoured mushrooms best.
(This makes 5 finger eggplants – so 5 to 10 serves depending on serving size)
375g mushrooms (mild flavoured, sliced and cut into ‘coarse mince’)
½ cup shallots (thinly diced)
¼ cup mandarin peel (very finely minced, white part removed)
5 finger eggplants
Oil for frying (approximately 1 tablespoon)
Sauce (if this sauce is going to be used for other things, then we need to increase these amounts)
3 cloves fresh garlic
100g plain yogurt
~ dry basil leaves for sprinkling over the top of the sauced eggplant
1 teaspoon oil
- Soften mushroom and shallots in oil. When they are soft, add mandarin peel and continue to fry until the shallots and mushrooms are slightly caramelized. Take off heat and cool.
- Slice eggplant lengthwise (to form 2 ‘boats’) and core out the eggplant halves.
- Fill eggplant halves with mushroom stuffing.
- Place eggplant into bamboo steamers and steam until eggplant is soft but not over cooked (approximately 10 minutes).
- Sweat garlic in oil over medium heat until blistered. Cool.
- Just before serving, press garlic through garlic press into yogurt. Mix to combine. Slightly heat yogurt if it is thick and then drizzle over the top of the eggplant manta. Sprinkle the top of the sauce with crushed dry basil leaves.
- Fortunately, most of the ingredients from the original recipe easily correspond to known ingredients.
- On the use of shallot as ‘onion’. Onion (Allium cepa) is common in the Central Asian region. The shallot (Allium cepa var. aggregatum, et al) is common in the region as well. Shallot has a softer flavour and blends well with the other flavours of the dish.
- When I was trialling this dressing, we found that basil worked better than mint as a topping flavour.
- As mentioned before, this recipe is fiddly and requires constant attention and quick serving. It is well worth the effort but would be ill suited to a large feast if each guest were to get an eggplant manta.
- This recipe needs to be served hot for best flavour. It cools quickly.
- This recipe is very hands on and will require a kitchen staff member to be on task for the entire cook.