Main Meals

Cheesy brinjal bake

6 to 8
10 minutes
30 minutes

If you have some brinjals knocking about in the fridge, this is the recipe you’ve been looking for. This bake is so simple to make, and it will convert anyone who is on the fence about this unique vegetable into a die-hard fan.

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  • 3 large brinjals
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bird’s-eye chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 50 g tomato paste
  • 2 x 400 g cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 200 g feta
  • 200 g mozzarella, sliced
  • 150 g basil pesto
  • basil leaves, for serving

1 Slice into the brinjals, leaving the tops still intact, to make a fan shape.

2 Heat a large pan and add half the olive oil. Fry the brinjals until golden brown on both sides, seasoning with salt and pepper. Place in an ovenproof dish.

3 Preheat the oven to 200°C. To make the sauce, heat a saucepan and add the remaining olive oil. Fry the onion over a medium heat until it begins to soften and caramelise slightly.

4 Add the spices and oregano and fry for 1 minute, then add the garlic and chilli and fry for another few minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then pour in the tomatoes. Break them with a wooden spoon to make a chunky sauce. Sprinkle in the sugar.

5 Simmer for 10 minutes, then pour over the brinjals. Crumble over the feta, top with the mozzarella and cover with tinfoil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the brinjals are soft and cooked through when pierced with a knife. Uncover and grill until golden brown. To serve, spoon over the basil pesto and top with torn basil leaves.

Find more brinjal recipes here. 

Photograph: Shavan Rahim
Videography: Romay Wilson
Food assistant: Leila-Ann Mokotedi

Khanya Mzongwana

Recipe by: Khanya Mzongwana

If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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