Split Pea Stuffed Aubergine

I have a ‘thing’ for aubergines, which I realise not everyone shares.  The other day I had virtually nothing in the house except a large aubergine and some dried split peas.  Split peas are great; they are even more economical than lentils, and if they are well soaked they don’t take much longer to cook.  Here’s what I cobbled together with household ingredients and an aubergine.  We enjoyed it, and I hope you do too.

Stuffed AubergineMakes 2 generous servings.
1 large Aubergine
1 Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1tlbs Oil
1 400g tin Tomatoes
50g dried Yellow Split Peas
1tsp Cumin
2tbls Houmous
4tbls Natural Yoghurt
(for a vegan version, substitute these last two ingredients for 2tbls Tahini paste, diluted with water and lemon juice)
1tbls Pine Nuts (optional)

  1. A couple of hours before you want to eat (or the night before), soak the split peas in water.  Change the water several times if you can to remove the excess starch, but if that’s not possible, when it comes time to cook wash the peas well using a sieve until the water runs clear.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180C.

  3. Pierce holes in the aubergine with a sharp knife.  Place the whole aubergine in an oven dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft inside. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan or frying pan and fry the onions and garlic until soft and translucent.

  5. Add the split peas and cumin to the pan, and stir until the peas are coated in onions and spice.

  6. Add the tin of tomatoes.  Rinse out the inside of the tin with water, and pour this water into the pan as well.  Bring to the boil, then allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, checking every 5 minutes that the lentils are not sticking.  When they are done, the lentils should be cooked through and easy to bite, but not mushy.  They may need a bit longer.

  7. Mix the yoghurt and houmous together, or make up the tahini sauce with water and lemon juice.

  8. When the aubergine has cooled sufficiently, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the inside.  Chop roughly and add to the split peas and tomatoes.  Continue to cook until the excess liquid has evaporated, then fill the empty aubergine shells with the mixture.

  9. Pour your topping (houmous and yoghurt or tahini sauce) over the top of the aubergine halves, and top with pine nuts if using.

  10. Return to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the topping is set and the pine nuts are golden brown.  Flash under the grill if necessary to achive browning, but be careful; pine nuts burn very easily!

  11. Serve immediately, with a big green salad.