Masala Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Potato and Cauliflower)

You haven’t eaten it all till you’ve eaten Aloo Gobi…

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Every Punjabi mother  dreams of a world where she cooks all day and her children eat all day. There are few vegetarian dishes every Punjabi mother swears by. These staples made up most of my childhood and continue to delight my tastebuds even today. For instance Rajma Chawal (red kidney bean stew with rice), Kaali Dal aur paratha (creamy black lentils with crispy flatbread), Kadhi Chawal (Chickpea flour and yogurt curry with rice), Aloo Paratha ( Potato stuffed crispy flatbread) and finally Aloo Gobi (potato with cauliflower).

So far I’ve brought you recipes for Rajma, Kaali Dal, Kadhi, and Parathas. Therefore it only makes sense to add Aloo Gobi,  another lip smackingly delicious dish to sort of complete your vegetarian Punjabi repertoire. There are many different ways to make aloo gobi but my favourite is cooking it in a onion, ginger and tomato paste with loads of garam masala, cumin and coriander powder.

So without further ado here’s the recipe for masala aloo gobi.



Ingredients: 15  Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One medium sized cauliflower cut into florets
  • Cauliflower stalks, roughly sliced
  • Three to four medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • One red onion, roughly chopped
  • Two tomatoes, cut in big chunks
  • One thumbsized piece of ginger grated
  • One tablespoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Once aromatic add onion, cook until lightly caramelised. Now add tomatoes, grated ginger, one teaspoon of garam masala and all the other dried spices.


Once the tomatoes are soft, add potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and cook the potatoes for five to seven minutes on a medium heat. Now add the cauliflower, stalks, remaining garam masala and season with salt. Mix well, cover the pan and cook the vegetables on a medium heat for 20 – 25 minutes. From time to time stir the aloo gobi to cook it evenly.


Take the lid of at this point, cook the aloo gobi on a high heat to crisp it up for about four to five minutes. Your lip smackingly delicious aloo gobi is ready to serve. It’s best eaten as a side along with dal, rotis and rice. Alternatively it can also be served with a nice piece of fish and some salad.

Aloo Shimla Mirch (Potato with Capsicum)

A childhood memory, a taste of home…


Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my Beeji (maternal grandmother) and Massi (maternal aunty). These two women are cornerstones of my upbringing. I owe a big part of who I am today to them. Even now every year when we visit India, I can’t help but feel the same excitement I did when I would visit Beeji and Massi during my school holidays.

Life was pretty simple as a child. Eat, play, nap and repeat. Although I think all I did was eat, eat, eat and eat. Among all the lip smackingly delicious dishes Beeji and Massi made, Aloo Shimla Mirch was my favourite. So much so I demanded that it be cooked everyday.

After all what’s not to love about potato and capsicum cooked in an onion and tomato paste. Flavoured with cumin and coriander powder. This dish right here is a perfect side dish to an Indian meal.

Ingredients: 11  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Three to four medium potatoes, sliced
  • Two medium green capsicums, sliced
  • One medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • Two medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season 
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil 

Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds, once aromatic add onions and cook until lightly caramelised.

Once the onions are browned, add tomatoes. Followed by all the dried spices. Mix well and cook the onion tomato paste on a medium heat for five to seven minutes.


Now add the potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan, turn the heat down and cook the potatoes for ten to fifteen minutes.
Finally add the capsicum, season with salt and mix well. Coven the pan and cook the dish on a low heat for another 15 minutes. 


Your lip smackingly delicious Aloo Shimla mirch is ready to serve. Serve alongside dal tadka and plain yogurt, enjoy it with warm rotis or plain rice. 

Curried egg and Broccoli open sandwich 

It hits the spot and how…

 
 

Little Samuel Kabir absolutely loves broccoli and eggs, which means our fridge is always stocked with them. Every second day I find myself steaming broccoli or boiling eggs for my little monster. 

While SammyK can happily eat steamed broccoli and boiled eggs just as they are. Mummy needs a little something extra because that’s just eating way too healthy for my liking. I decided to make myself an egg and broccoli and open sandwich. It was so good that I’ll definitely be making this for lunch more often.

Ingredients: 10   Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

  • Two slices of crusty sourdough bread, toasted 
  • Two boiled eggs, chopped
  • Three to four medium sized broccoli florets, steamed and chopped 
  • One teaspoon of capers
  • Two tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • One tablespoon lemon juice
  • Half a teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt to season 
  • Crushed black pepper to garnish
  • Chilli flakes to garnish

In a bowl combine all the ingredients, mix well. Season with salt.

Assemble toasted bread on a plate. Scoop the egg and broccoli mixture and layer it on to the toast. If you are health coscious you can turn this into a salad by adding lettuce.

Garnish with pepper and chilli flakes. Some fresh herbs like parsley or coriander would be great for garnish too. 

A simple lunch for days when you are too busy to cook but never too busy to eat.

  

Hyderabadi Baigan 

When memories create meals, they are one of a kind…

  

Many things in life are easy to forget but one seldom forgets a delicious dish. One such dish I found myself recently reminiscing about and relentlessly craving was Hyberabadi Baigan, also known as Bhagare Baigan. An eggplant curry inspired by flavours from Hyderabad, a former princely state in the southern belt of India.

Hyderabadi cuisine has evolved over centuries through local and foreign influences. The key ingredients of Hyderabadi cuisine are coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. While the cuisine is more meat based, you can also find some real vegetarian gems in the mix.

Here’s my take on this Hyderabadi classic. To be enjoyed with parathas or rice,  every mouthful is lip smackingly delicious.

  

Ingredients: 15  Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 1.5 dozen of baby eggplants, quartered and soaking in water 
  • One medium-sized onion, sliced
  • Two medium tomatoes, quartered 
  • 200 gms of peanuts, roasted
  • 400 ml of coconut milk 
  • Six to eight curry leaves
  • One lemon sized tamarind ball or juice of one lemon
  • One bay large bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Half teaspoon chilli powder 
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Three tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying the eggplants.
  • Salt to season 
  • One teaspoon sugar

For tempering (optional)

  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Six to eight curry leaves

Begin by pan frying the quartered eggplants until they slightly change colour and are soft. Keep aside.

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To make the sauce, heat oil in a kadahi or a heavy based pot. If you can’t find mustard oil you can use vegetable oil, ghee or olive oil.

Once the oil is aromatic add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves. When the spices splutter and are aromatic add sliced onions. Cook until onions are slightly caramelised.

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Now add roasted peanuts and mix well. Cook onion and peanuts for about five to seven minutes. Then add the tomatoes and dried spices. Mix well. 

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While the tomatoes soften, soak the tamarind ball in quarter cup hot water. Once soft squeeze the pulp and strain the juice. If you don’t have tamarind you can also use juice of one lemon. Add the tamarind  juice, one teaspoon of sugar and two cups of water to the tomato mix. 

Give the ingredients a good stir. Once it comes to a boil turn the gas off and let the gravy cool. Then blend until smooth. Finally add coconut milk to the gravy, season with salt and cover the pot and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat.

  
Now the gravy is ready for the eggplants. Drop eggplants gently into the gravy. Let the gravy simmer again for 10 to 15 minutes so the eggplants soak in all the flavour.

 

Last step is to add the tadka or temper the gravy with aromatic flavours of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Heat ghee in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once they splutter and are aromatic add to the curry and mix well to infuse the flavours.

Your lip smackingly delicious Hyderabadi Baigan are ready to be served. 

  

Sweet potato and lentil soup 

The soup season is here…

  

Today I don’t really have a story and nor did I attempt any artistic photos last night while making this pot of healthy goodness. What I do have is a cracker of a soup recipe!

Imagine your kitchen coming to life with the alluring aromas of cinnamon, garam masala and bayleaves. This soup packs a punch in the flavour department and will most certainly kick the butt of any cold or related ailments the onset of winter may bring with it.

  

Even my husband who dislikes curry based soups (yeah go figure, loves curry but not curry flavoured soups) went back for seconds. SammyK totally demolished his soup bowl and let out a ferocious victory growl as all that pepper tickled his throat. Yes sir! We are a family that loves our herbs and spices.

So without further ado here’s the recipe for this beauty.

Ingredients: 15   Cooking time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

  • One sweet potato, peeled and cubed 
  • 250 gms of split green lentils
  • 400ml of light coconut milk
  • One small lemon
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • A thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Two bayleaves
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon pepper
  • Half teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season 
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil
  • Four tablespoons of yogurt (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat oil in a crockpot. Add cinnamon stick. Once aromatic add onions and grated ginger. Cook until onion is translucent. Now add sweet potatoes and mix well.

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Now add the lentils, garam masala, pepper, chilli flakes (leave some for garnish), bay leaves. Mix well till all the ingredients are coated with the spices. Then about a litre of water or vegetable stock. Cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes. 

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Now add juice of half a lemon, mix well. Finally add coconut milk. Give the pot a real good stir and let the soup simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes on low heat. To finish off the soup mash the lentils and sweet potatoes. This way it has some texture but is mostly rich and creamy. Scoop some soup out for the little ones prior to seasoning with salt.

For the garnish add four tablespoons of yogurt in a bowl. Mix about a teaspoon of lemon juice. For the next garnish hear two tablespoons of olive oil. Add quarter teaspoon of chilli flakes. Once aromatic turn off the heat. 

Serve this lip smackingly delicious soup with a dollop of lemon yogurt, a drizzle of chilli oil and sprinklings of fresh parsley.

  

Big Breakfast

Because nothing says weekend like a big breakfast…

Now with Samuel Kabir eating solids our mealtimes have become so much more fun. It’s so entertaining watching him try new things, roll his eyes or smile with glee each time he tries a new food. One thing is for sure the boy loves his food. Who wouldn’t I suppose with foodie parents like us two.

My favourite part of the week has to be cooking and relishing weekend brunches with my family. Recently I decided to make my own spiced breakfast beans and crispy breakfast potatoes. Needless to say there were cheesy scrambled eggs and beautiful crusty grilled sourdough. 

 

While I’m a complete believer in convenience and using canned baked beans would’ve been just fine. Since it’s the question of nutrition for little SammyK I make no compromise. Besides when homemade beans are so easy to make and ready in 15 minutes, why wouldn’t you make them at home.

Ingredients:  18 Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

For the beans

  • One can of reduced salt cannellini beans
  • One small onion, chopped
  • Two medium tomatoes, chopped
  • Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • Half a teaspoon of rosemary leaves
  • Salt to season 
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil

For the potatoes 

  • Three to four medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One teaspoon of mixed Italian herbs 
  • Salt to season 

For the eggs

  • Eight eggs
  • Quarter cup of milk
  • Half a cup of grated tasty cheddar
  • Salt to season
  • One teaspoon of olive oil

Begin by rinsing the beans thoroughly to wash off the salts and rind. On the other hand parboil the potatoes until slightly tender.

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Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic and onion, cook until aromatic. Now add tomatoes, herbs and spices and let the tomatoes stew on a medium heat for five to seven minutes.

  
Once the tomatoes are soft add the beans and half a cup of water. Mix well and cover the pan, let the beans simmer for 10 minutes.

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In the meantime, heat oil in another pan. Add mixed Italian herbs, once aromatic, add the potatoes. Toss well and cook until potatoes are cooked through and crispy.

  

To make the eggs. Whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl. Heat oil in a pan, add the eggs and turn the heat low. Keep folding the eggs in until scrambled and fluffy. Add grated cheddar and mix through. Garnish with cracked pepper. 

Your lip smackingly delicious big breakfast is ready to serve. If you are sharing this with your little one, take out relevant portions for him/her and then add salt for seasoning to the remaining. All the meat lovers feel free to add chorizo in beans or bacon on the side. Or just take my word that you won’t miss the meat if you eat a well cooked vegetarian meal once in a while.

  

So what are you waiting for. Pile it all up on a big plate and enjoy with a nice cup of coffee. Meanwhile in our house SammyK demolished his food and then went on to feed his furbling.

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Coriander Zucchini and Corn Fritters

Stop fretting, just eat a fritter…

While we were in India among other things one of the big things to happen was, Samuel Kabir eating solids. Yes my little boy is growing up way too quickly but I couldn’t be more excited. I was so eager for him to start solids, so I could cook some real tasty treats for him.

I adopted the ‘baby led weaning’ approach for introducing SammyK to solids. I’m not going to bore you with the details of baby led weaning. In essence there are no purees, no ice-cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos. It’s just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.

So today I made my little prince zucchini and corn fritters for breakfast. There was a salt free baby version and a salted adult version with lemon chaat masala yogurt aioli. 

  

 
Ingredients: 10  Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves : 2

  • One zucchini, grated
  • One small can of creamed corn
  • Half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • One egg
  • One heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • One heaped tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • One teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  • Half a teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season
  • Olive oil to pan fry

Begin by squeezing out all the water from the zucchini and transfer it to another bowl. In the same bowl add all the other ingredients and mix well using your hands.

  
Heat olive oil in a non stick pan. Now pour one tablespoon per fritter in the pan. Let them cook on a medium heat. Flip over gently to the other side once the edges are browned.

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Cook on both sides until golden brown. The key to a good fritter is crispy on the outside and yet moist (sorry, for lack of a better word) on the inside.  

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To make the aioli to go with the adult version – In two tablespoons of Greek yogurt add quarter teaspoon on chaat masala, one teaspoon lemon juice and one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Voila done! 

Your lip smackingly delicious fritters are ready to be served. 

 

Paupers Soup…

Winter is coming, bring out the crockpot…

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Hello gorgeous readers, I’m back! After an eight week holiday in India, Singapore and Indonesia, I was well and truly ready for home. 

After the sweltering heat in Asia, we are back to the cold in Australia. Though I love winter and everything about it. Especially soups and the warmth they bring on a cold winter evening.

Here’s a simple silverbeet and butterbean soup known as Paupers Soup. Why paupers? Mainly because it used all the basic ingredients and seasonal vegetables you would find in an Italian kitchen. Simple, rustic Italian, the kind which kicks pretentious, petite portioned food in the nuts.  Full of deep earthy flavours and utterly nutritious. It will definitely help you and your family keep the cold and flu at bay.

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Ingredients:  14  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One bunch of silverbeet, chopped
  • Two medium sized potatoes, cubed
  • Two carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
  • One medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • Three pods of garlic finely chopped
  • One red chilli, chopped
  • Half a bunch of continental parsley (leaves and stems), finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 400 gms of butterbeans ( I used the canned ones)
  • One bay leaf
  • One teaspoon of crushed black pepper
  • Salt to season
  • One litre vegetable stock
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil

Heat olive oil in a crockpot. Add garlic, cook until aromatic. Now add onions and red chilli, cook until onions are translucent.

Add the veggies and parsley. Mix well. Now add the stock and bayleaf, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for 15 – 20 minutes on low heat.

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Once the veggies are slightly tender add the beans, followed by lemon juice. Add more stock or water if required. Cover the pot again and let the soup simmer for another 15 minutes on low heat.

While the soup is simmering you can prepare equal number of poached eggs per serve to garnish the soup with. Poached egg is a great accompaniment with this dish.

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Your lip smackingly delicious winter warmer is ready to serve. Serve this with fresh sourdough bread. I can most certainly guarantee one bite will teleport you to Italy.

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Palak Khichdi 

A spoonful of health and flavour…

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This humble old recipe is every Indian mothers answer when someone in the house says they are feeling under the weather. 

Traditionally defined as bland, boring but healthy. Khichdi is made from lentils, rice, turmeric and a bit of salt. As a child I labelled this dish ‘bimaaron ka khaana’ i.e. ‘ill people’s meal’. I never wanted to eat it and you wouldn’t blame me! 

Today Khichdi and I are good friends. What changed? Well Khichdi became a little more glamorous. Different spices and veggies have elevated this dish and put it at par with risotto from Italy or paella from Spain. All Khichdi is missing now is an exotic name.

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Ingredients: 14  Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 250 gms of rice
  • 250 gms of yellow split peas (channa dal)
  • 500 ml of spinach puree
  • One brown onion, finely chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One large cinnamon stick
  • Six to eight cloves
  • One to two blades of mace
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • One teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • One tablespoon butter
  • Salt to season 
  • Fresh lemon for garnish 

Begin by washing the rice and lentils thoroughly. Soak them for about 15-20 minutes before cooking.

In a heavy-set pot, melt butter. Add mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves and mace. Mace gives this dish a subtle peppery flavour and goes really well with any rice dish. If you can’t find mace you can use half a teaspoon of grounded nutmeg, but add it along with other powdered spices later in the dish.

Once aromatic add onion and garlic. Cook on a medium heat for five to seven minutes or until the onion is lightly browned.

Drain the rice and lentils and add them to the onion mixture. Now add garam masala, coriander powder and nutmeg if using it. Mix well, evenly coating all the ingredients.

Finally add the spinach pureè, about four cups of water and season with salt as desired. Cover the pot with a lid and let the Khichdi simmer on a low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Whilst Khichdi is simmering remember to stir it occasionally so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Your lip smackingly delicious Khichdi is ready to be served. I have served it with a side of crispy cumin potatoes and garnished it with a wedge of lemon. Here’s to health and happiness in every bite of life!!!

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Eggplant Schnitzel with White Bean Mash

Being a vegetarian has never been easier…

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Schnitzel and I go back eight years ago. The first time I met my mother in law which also happens to be eight years ago, she had invited me to dinner. My husband had obviously forgotten to mention I was a vegetarian.

So there we were sitting on the table, delicious aromas permeating through the house and my stomach rumbling, waiting to devour a warm home cooked meal. Until I found out we were having chicken schnitzel and mash. Fearing that I would come across as high maintenance if I said I was vegetarian, I decided to eat the meal without saying a word. After all nothing pleases a cook more than to see an all clean after dinner plate. 

Eight years hence I can’t say I love chicken  but I definitely love schnitzels, especially vegetarian schnitzels. These eggplant schnitzels are just amazing. Light, crisp and succulent. Moreover no animal was killed or injured in the making of this dish.

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Ingredients: 22   Serves: 4

Cooking time: 20 minutes

For Schnitzels

  • Two medium sized eggplants
  • One cup of plain flour
  • Three eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • Two cups of bread crumbs
  • One teaspoon oregano
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt to season
  • Oil for pan frying

For White bean mash

  • 400 gms of butter beans
  • Two pods of garlic, minced
  • 100 gms of parsley, finely chopped
  • 100 gms of basil, finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Two teaspoons of cracked pepper
  • Salt to season 

For Spicy aioli

  • Two tablespoons of natural Greek yogurt
  • One tablespoon of siracha sauce or hot chilli sauce
  • One teaspoon of dried mint leaves
  • Half a teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt to season 

Prepare the eggplant by slicing it lengthwise down the middle. Then cut quarter inch slices and keep aside. 

Place flour, whisked eggs with milk and salt and breadcrumbs with oregano and paprika in separate bowls. Coat the eggplant slices invidiually with flour, dip in egg wash and finally crumb them evenly. The schnitzels are ready to be fried. If you are vegan you can make a temupra batter with flour and water and then crumb the schnitzels.

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Heat one tablespoon EVOO in another pan. Add garlic, parsley and basil. Stir until aromatic. Now add butter beans and mix well, cook for seven to ten minutes on a low heat. Then add lemon juice, pepper and season with salt. Mash the beans until creamy. Finally add the remaining EVOO and mix well. Your white bean mash is ready to serve. If you can’t get your hand on butter beans, you can use black eyed beans.


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In another pan heat oil in a pan to fry the schnitzels. Fry the eggplant schnitzels on both sides until crispy.

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Finally for the aioli, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir well.

Now it’s time to bring this sensational dish together. Place a spoonful of mash on a plate. Place the schnitzels on top and  finally top it up with the delicious aioli. Your lip smackingly delicious eggplant schnitzels are ready to serve.

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