Chermoula Aubergine with Bulgar and Yoghurt

From the Middle East, this chermoula aubergine recipe is baked with warming spices before being finished with bulgar wheat, yoghurt and fragrant coriander.

Jerusalem
From the book Jerusalem
Yotam Ottolenghi
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Introduction

Historically, bulgar was generally the rural people’s food in the Middle East, while rice was for more affluent city folk. Still, bulgar — boiled wheat that has been dried and cracked or ground — was staple to many Palestinians. Today, this differentiation is less relevant, with bulgar gaining popularity with everybody, particularly for salads and mezzes.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon skin
140ml olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 medium aubergines
150g fine bulgar
50g sultanas
10g fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to finish
10g fresh mint, chopped
50g pitted green olives, halved
30g flaked almonds, toasted
3 spring onions, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
120g Greek yoghurt
salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC Fan/Gas Mark 6.

To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika, preserved lemon, two thirds of the olive oil and ½ a teaspoon of salt.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways. Score the flesh of each half with deep, diagonal criss-cross scores, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place on a baking sheet cut-side up. Put in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are completely soft.

Meanwhile, place the bulgar in a large bowl and cover with 140ml boiling water.

Soak the sultanas in 50ml of warm water. After 10 minutes drain the sultanas and add them to the bulgar, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, olives, almonds, spring onion, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Serve the aubergines warm or at room temperature. Place one half per portion on a serving plate. Spoon bulgar on top, allowing some to fall from both sides. Spoon over some yoghurt, sprinkle with chopped coriander and finish with a drizzle of oil.

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