Chickpea and eggplant rice is the vegan version of traditional lamb rice. It’s the perfect dish for a dinner party or family gathering. Everyone will love it — it’s deliciously gratifying and gluten-free. The tender eggplant and chickpeas combined with fluffy basmati rice create a wonderful texture.
Garnished with crunchy nuts and scented with warm spices, this rice pairs beautifully with a herb salad or just natural yogurt.
- 3 medium eggplants
- vegetable oil for deep frying
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon Arabian spice/7 spice blend
- 1 can chickpeas (400 grams)
- 1 tablespoon Vegeta or salt to season
- 2 ½ cups boiling water
- a handful of chopped parsley
Notes from Rouba
- Arabian spice is my blend known in the Middle East as Bharat or 7-spice blend. You can find it at Middle Eastern grocery stores and various supermarkets. Otherwise, you can substitute with 5-spice or allspice.
- The eggplant can easily be baked instead of fried. Simply salt and oil the eggplant pieces. Spread onto an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast for approximately 40 minutes or until golden in colour.
- The pine nuts and almonds are optional. If you don’t have them, don’t stress, the dish will still be delicious.
Cut the eggplant into 2-3 cm thick rounds and then in half again as shown below. In a wok or a deep pot, heat vegetable oil. Deep fry the eggplant pieces in batches until golden brown. Transfer onto a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Wash the rice under cold water. Set aside.
Add olive oil to a non-stick pot and fry pine nuts until golden brown. Remove the pine nuts and drain on a paper towel leaving the oil in the pot. Repeat the process with almonds. The almonds can be drained together with the pine nuts.
Using the same oil, sauté the onion until translucent. Add the rice and mix in the Arabian spices, chickpeas and season with salt. Then add boiling water. Bring the rice to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. After 7 minutes give the rice a stir. Again, after another 7 minutes give the rice another stir, making sure you stir the rice from the bottom to the top. Cook for a further 7 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Once the rice is cooked, add the chopped parsley. Gently stir through.
To serve, scoop half of the rice onto the platter, layer with 3/4 of fried eggplants and layer again with the remaining rice. Place the remaining eggplant pieces on top. Garnish with pine nuts and almonds.
Servings: serves 6 people
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