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Roasted eggplant & tahini soup

I often come across people with an ooooold jar of tahini in their cupboards. Do you know tahini? It’s a paste of ground sesame seeds, used in Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern cooking. It is most widely known as a component of hummus. You’re familiar with hummus, right? A versatile chickpea spread that’s great on bread or as a dip? Now that’s how most of these nearly full containers of tahini end up in many Western kitchens: there are only one or two tablespoons needed for a batch of homemade spread — and what to do with the rest???

Well, the Dutch foodie blogging quartet is here to help!

Uniflame is sharing a recipe of tahini-yoghurt sauce (vegetarian)
Chinoiseries treats us to summer rolls with a tahini dip (vegetarian)
JannyAn fried up some falafel (vegan; in Dutch)

And on Graasland we’re having roasted eggplant & tahini soup.

The taste of this soup transported my globetrotter friend Loes right back to Morocco!

Roasted eggplant and tahini soup

Serves 5-6.

Roasted eggplant & tahini soup

Ingredients

  • 3 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium eggplants (about 550 grams together), halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium onions (I used a red and white one), halved
  • half a head of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 litre of vegetable broth (4 cups)
  • 2-3 teaspoons ras al hanout spice blend (store-bought or mixed yourself)
  • 4 tbsp = 60 ml tahini (1/4 cup)
  • juice from half a lemon (2-3 tbsp or more to taste)
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place tomatoes, eggplants and onions on a baking sheet.
  2. Sprinkle or brush with a little oil (we don’t have cooking spray over here), and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Slice a small part of the bottom of the garlic and fold it in a piece of aluminium foil. Wrap up tightly and put it on the baking sheet with the vegetables.
  4. Roast the veggies for 30-45 minutes, until they are tender and brown in some places.
    Roasted eggplant & tahini soup
  5. Remove from the oven and wait until the vegetables are cooled enough to handle.
  6. Scoop the eggplant out of its skin and into a large saucepan.
  7. Squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out of their skin and add to the eggplant.
  8. Remove the skin and green centre from the tomatoes and add to the pan as well, along with the onions.
  9. Add the broth and ras al hanout. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the onions are very tender.
  10. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
  11. Add the tahini and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  12. Finish the soup by adding lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  13. Garnish each bowl of soup with a generous sprinkle of cilantro.

Notes

For this soup I heavily relied on the recipe from Cara’s cravings; there are also instructions for homemade ras el hanout on her page. I already had a mix that I made a long time ago and desperately need to finish…

The spices determine the flavour of the soup, so keep that in mind when you decide to substitute. If you’d like an even creamier soup you could also add a dash of soy cream to the bowls. But whatever you do, do not skip the lemon juice, nor cilantro. They’re absolutely essential!

Okay, you all need to confess now… Have you got a pot of tahini stashed away somewhere? It’s time to get it out and start cooking!

Roasted eggplant & tahini soup

Also check out our previous blog hops:

TTHop (tofu & tempeh)
New Years Quartet: Dips & Spreads

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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

Elma from Chasing Chatwin gave me some chocolate euros to use in my bento. How appropriate on the day Michael Jackson died! The ancient Greeks put money in the mouth of a deceased, for paying Charon (ferryman of the river Styx) to bring his / her soul to the world of the dead.

I didn’t have much preparation time so I had to get through the day with just one tier of food in bento #57 :\

Contents
Chocolate money (obviously), radishes with gherkin, raspberry vinegar and dill, mushroom noodles, broccoli with black & white sesame seeds, walnut and nori seaweed.

Having just admitted to being a teenager in the Eighties, you might have guessed I was a Michael Jackson fan in those days. I even had a poster hanging on the wall (among many others though ;) No matter what came of him in later years, he was and still is an icon. I find it a fascinating idea that on Friday June 26th, a huge part of the world population has been playing Wacko Jacko’s songs all day on the radio, television, internet and at home. It’s so profound it’s almost unimaginable.

RIP MJ. And now, life goes on.

Time flies when you’re having fun! Last Tuesday it was two years ago, on June 16th 2007, that I made my first real bento! I brought a lunch for two on a 16 km hike, in my first actual bento box. Of course I decided to use this blue usagi sakura box for my anniversary bento (#54) as well!

I like to think that the dots behind the white cherry blossoms (sakura) are full moons, since in Japanese culture rabbits (usagi) are often depicted with these mochi-tsuki. I still love this bento box a lot, but I use it less than my favourite flower lunchbox because that one’s smaller. Anyway, I’m getting distracted ;)

Upper tier:

  • sakura muscat white chocolate
  • 3 sesame-soy rice crackers
  • 3 yoghurt coated (dried) apricots
  • 3 mini plum tomatoes
  • basil
  • radish
  • pistachios
  • mix of roasted black & white sesame with a bit of walnut and nori to go on the spinach (in the other tier)

Lower tier:

  • quickly stirfried spinach with spring onion, kikkoman soy sauce and sake, topped with walnut and nori
  • (more radishes
  • scrambled egg with tomato and basil

Scrambled eggs with tomato is my favourite egg dish since childhood :) But it was all REALLY good!

ICHI, NI, SAN, SHI — on to year no.3 (&4)! :)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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