An Easy (And Forgiving) Stewed Eggplant, Perfect For Weeknight Meals
Recipes and cooking are really their own sort of stories, and that's what Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen wanted to share in the new cookbook In Bibi's Kitchen. The collection of recipes featured are based on their extensive research in the kitchens of grandmothers across eight eastern African countries. Hassan and Turshen explain in the introduction to the book that, "This is an old-fashioned cookbook that has nothing to do with trends or newness. It's filled with recipes from grandmothers and their rich histories, which have been handed down through generations."
Included among the more involved recipes is this quick stewed eggplant, which comes from the kitchen of Mo Shara, who runs a cooking school in Zanzibar. As with each of the grandmothers featured in the book, they asked Mo Shara about her relationship to the food she cooks and her life and culture.
This recipe is so quick, easy, affordable, and healthy—the things we all seem to look for these days. It's also very forgiving. Don't have green bell pepper? Throw in a red one. Forgot to check the pot on the stove while you started doing something else? Not the end of the world—the eggplant will just get silkier if it cooks a little longer.
Feel free to also throw in extra vegetables like thinly sliced carrots, chopped okra, or diced sweet potatoes. This is one of those dishes you can throw together after work and just eat with rice or flatbread or make as part of a more elaborate meal with other vegan dishes or meat, chicken, or fish.
Quick Stewed Eggplant With Coconut
- 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 large), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 jalapeños, stemmed and thinly sliced (use less or leave this out if you don't want things too spicy)
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
- Place the eggplant, onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeños, turmeric, salt, and coconut milk in a large pot and stir well to combine.
- Set over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Season the eggplant to taste with salt and serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days and rewarmed in a heavy pot set over low heat (stir while you heat).
Hawa Hassan was born in a time of war in Somalia and at the age of four moved with her family to a U.N. refugee camp. In that difficult environment, her mother worked miracles to keep her five children safe, fed and educated. Eventually Hawa's mother was able to make her way to an apartment in Nairobi, Kenya, and three years after that, she made the painful decision to send Hawa to Seattle to live with a family friend.
It would be 15 years before Hawa saw her family again. She is the founder and CEO of Basbaas Sauce, a line of condiments inspired by her country of origin, Somalia. Hawa and her brand have been featured in Forbes, the New York Times, the Observer, Grub Street, Vogue, The Cut, Eater, and more.
Hassan wrote In Bibi's Kitchen with Julia Turshen, the bestselling author of Now and Again and Feed the Resistance. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Saveur. She is the founder of Equity At The Table (EATT), an inclusive digital directory of women and non-binary individuals in food.