The latest addition to the cookbooks has been "The Spice and Herb Bible" by Ian Hemphill and it is such a great book! I love how it goes through poretty much everything under the sun, gives you a history of it, how to store and use it. It even has many spice combinations in the book, so I can do cool things like make my own curry powder! It has some really great flavo combinations and ideas that are almost counter-intuative but when you follow this guide, you will be really surprised by the results.
That being said, this appetizer is inspired by this book and I was not sure if it would be bad, or just ok. The combo seems a bit strange at first....smokey cumin...sweet agave....ginger...? What on earth would this become...but man, I am sure glad I went with it and tried it out. It is unlike anything I have ever had before, in a good way. A really good way. It is tangy, zesty, sweet and savory all in one taste. It does have a pretty intense flavor, so I would suggest making this as an appetizer, or maybe making some jasmine rice with it if you want to make it into a meal.
Here is what you will need:
1 medium to large eggplant
2 cloves garlic, minced very fine
4 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tsp. cumin
1 lemon, for juice and zest
Start by slicing your eggplant into at least 1/2 inch slices. Add oil to pan, and fry the sliced eggplant in batches until each slice is brown on both sides. I found doing this that eggplant absorbes a whole lot of oil, quickly, so you will need to add more oil as you go. You can also brush each side or eggplant and fry it that way if you want to cut down on the oil. Set aside on a plate and drain on a paper towl on plate.
After your eggplant is done, add a small amount of oil to your pan, just enough so the garlic and ginger can cook on a medium low heat for a few minutes. When the garlic is just starting to get a bit toasty/golden brown, add your: water, agave nectar, cumin, lemon juice and zest. Cook for 10 minutes, and then add in the eggplant you have already fried. Cover this and let simmer for another ten minutes.
Enjoy and have your tastebuds be amazed at what you just made!