A Middle Eastern inspired recipe – Baked eggplant chips with za’atar

A simple and much loved way to cook eggplant!

A Middle Eastern inspired recipe – Baked eggplant chips with za’atar

I did not fully appreciate how much the Turkish love their food until the day I met some in a small restaurant in Brunswick (Melbourne). That was a meeting I would remember, and the start of life-long friendship. I could feel it.

We certainly share the love for food. How I wish I could meet L’s mom, who has been considered the real master chef among Turkish community in Melbourne. And of course, I am already dreaming of traveling to Turkey, to experience the street food and especially some fabulous baklava.

The group of friends also mentioned the lesser known Turkish vegetarian cooking. You see, I normally venture out to Turkish restaurants to satisfy my meat craving. That is what they are famous for. However, I understand what my friends mean by saying that there are much more to Turkish cuisine than just kebab. I can draw similar conclusion; Vietnamese cooking is more than just pho or fresh rice paper roll.

The recipe for today is inspired from Middle Eastern cooking. Eggplant and yoghurt are loved with passion in Middle Eastern cooking. But the star of the show is za’atar.

What is za’atar anyway? It’s a popular spice-herb mixture in Middle Eastern cooking. The typical mixture normally consists of dried thyme, sesame seeds and salt. Other possible variation includes ingredients like dried oregano, and spices like cumin or coriander. The version I like is of Lebanese background, in which, sumac is used. Sumac is a spice that has beautiful lemony flavour. A much loved spice of mine, to sprinkle onto grilled meat or salad.

My dish today is really simple. I make eggplant chips. The nice thing is the chips are not fried but baked in the oven. After baking, the chips are sprinkled with za’atar and served with thick natural yoghurt. Eggplant chips make beautiful snack, and baking them this way is a really good method.

I am sending this dish to Weekend Herb Blogging. My good friend, Dhanggit from Dhanggit's Kitchen, is our host of this week. Please head to her blog for the roundup!

Oh, need I mention that I will be hosting WHB next week? ;)

A Middle Eastern inspired recipe – Baked eggplant chips with za’atar

Baked eggplant chips with za’atar

Inspired by a recipe from Donna Hay’s magazine. I used two eggplants and two of us finished in just seconds!

Ingredients:
Asian small and long eggplant, sliced longwise thinly
Olive oil
Sea salt
Za’atar – as needed (around 1tsp for 2 eggplants)
Thick natural yoghurt, to serve
Method
Preheat oven to 180C. Place eggplant slices onto a baking tray. Lightly sprinkle some salt. Drizzle olive oil to coat.
Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins until the slices are crisp. Take out, sprinkle with za’atar.
Serve hot with thick yoghurt.





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25 comments:

Julia @Mélanger 6:20 PM  

Just love eggplant. This looks like a delicious way to prepare it.

Dhanggit 8:57 PM  

Oh my these eggplants are beautiful! And thanks for a great and healthy entry for WHB!!

NQN 9:53 PM  

I aodre za'atar and eat it with quail's eggs! :) This looks wonderful and healthy too! No wonder it wa such a hit!

Rosa's Yummy Yums 10:56 PM  

I love Middle Eastern food! What a delightful recipe! Marvelous! Your pictures are stunning too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Faith 11:44 PM  

Oooh, these look beautiful! Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, so I'll definitely be trying this recipe!

Kalyn 12:12 AM  

Gorgeous! Saving your recipe since I just got some Za'atar!

thecookieshopinenglish 12:52 AM  

So simple, delicious and healthy, too! Bookmarked.:)

gaga 3:22 AM  

Hi, I saw this on foodgawker and just HAD to comment on your my melody cup, it's adorable!!! The eggplant looks pretty good too :)

shaz 10:18 AM  

Wow! I love eggplant but didn't realise they would crisp up in the oven too (no more oily frying for me). Thanks for sharing this.

talat 10:41 AM  

I've never seen this before. Looks awesome. How thick should the eggplant slices be?

Jackie at PhamFatale.com

Anh 12:41 PM  

Thanks all for your lovely comments!

@Jackie: the thinner the better. I think mandolin can be used but I didn't bother :)

heidileon 2:41 PM  

beautiful, perfect and healthy snack. My kind of snack!

I also have a thing for Middle East food and I think is because of the big lebanese community we have in Mexico (who would think of that??). One of my favorite snack hack home is jocoque (a kind of thicker greek yogurth) with a big splash of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of za'atar with some home made pita bread. Heaven :)

Must try your baked eggplants asap

Christie 7:48 PM  

It seems we're both having eggplant cravings! Love these with za'atar!

Snooky doodle 10:13 PM  

I love eggplant recipes. These look so good !

Sara 4:41 AM  

Mmmmmmmmm, these look so tasty! I like eggplant but often I'm not sure what to do with it, so this is a great idea! :)

bittersweetblog 4:51 AM  

Eggplant chips? Now that's unique! But so much healthier than your standard chip, and I'm sure much more flavorful with that seasoning.

lydiawalshin 6:11 AM  

Simple, elegant, and I never would have thought of it! I'm bookmarking, then off to the market to find some beautiful Asian eggplant.

Belle@Ooh, Look 9:47 PM  

Za'atar is one of the those condiments that instantly evoke the turkey and Morocco for me. Serving it with eggplant sounds delish. By the way, your photos are wonderful!

Manggy 2:48 AM  

Gorgeous! Do you think it would help them crisp up better if you salted them and let them sit to release the bitter fluids? I can't believe they turned out so well, lovely! :)

Lisa Michelle 7:10 AM  

These beat potato chips by a mile! What a healthy way to get the same crunch but with more flavor! Love the thick yogurt as a dip too, as I have tubs of Greek yogurt I need to use. Those chips would be perfect!

Sylvia 7:35 AM  

Great recipe . I only taste za'atar in cheese but I like the , unless for me, the innovation idea.Your photos are so creativ and artistics.

Anh 8:28 AM  

Thanks all for the sweet words.

Manggy, I *think* if you use the normal huge eggplants, salting them to squeeze out the bitter juice is a good idea. However, for Asian eggplants, this step is not necessary.

Susan from Food Blogga 8:49 AM  

I fell in love with za'atar after one mouthful. And I can only imagine how amazing it is on eggplant crisps!

JayEm 4:18 PM  

I'm sure lots of kids will love it from the way it prepare and presented. Very delicious and nutritious. some yummy vegetable recipe that you will love will be found at tany's website. I also like the recipe their.

Sophie 6:18 PM  

I love baked vegatbles with Za'tar!! I love using this spice!! It gives a nice flavour!! I bet it was so tasty!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic laksa1 Hot and spicy! Try out this laksa this winter. Mini mini tartlet Beat the heat in northern hemisphere with this glorious Avocado Smoothie with Fresh Tomato Salsa!
A culinary journey of a Vietnamese girl, who loves to cook. From her tiny kitchen in the middle of Sydney, Australia. You can contact me at anhnguyen118[at]gmail[dot]com

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