Brown Rice Salad with Almonds, Grilled & Sautéed Baby Aubergine, Ginger and Lemon

with pretty spoon from a friend in Poland

Upon return from our week to my folks in Natal, I brought back a few difficult-to-find vegetables, including these adorable baby aubergine. They would be lovely sliced, dipped in chilli-bite (bhajia) batter and deep-fried as a crunchy snack, served with a cumin infused thick yoghurt dip.

However, a week of catch up eating later (which, I’m so looking forward to telling you about, including a “world famous prawn curry”), my body put the brakes on. When it speaks, I try my darndest to listen.

So upon return to Cape Town we started off with frozen fruit and matcha smoothies, nuts and seeds and raw vegetables. For the first week. Mostly.

This crunchy, wholesome salad uses brown basmati rice (use whatever type of brown or wild rice you have), aubergine done in two ways – griddled with minimal oil, and also sautéed with ginger and garlic in nothing more than water. It’s not short on flavour though, with spring onions, lemon and lemon zest as well as a lovely balsamic glaze.

If you like, drizzle more olive oil over (an infused oil like lemon olive oil, will just take it up a notch or two).

The gorgeous spoon is from my darling friend Gata, who sent it in a Christmas parcel. It’s by artisan tradesmen from the Tatras (Tatry) Mountain region. The heart had mine melting.


Serves 2

2 cups brown rice, cooked

few tablespoons olive oil

4-6 small aubergine, sliced lengthwise (or 1 medium sized one)

2 T fresh ginger, cut into ultra fine match sticks

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

40 ml water, more if needed

2 T raw almonds

2 T flaked almonds, lightly toasted

1 medium lemon, zested

1 long spring onion (scallion) snipped

2 T Balsamic glaze or crema di balsamico

salt, to taste


Heat a griddle pan on high, and brush lightly with olive oil.

Griddle half the aubergine slices, till soft, and the griddle pan marks adhere to each side. Set aside and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Remove griddle pan and heat saucepan on medium heat.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Fry ginger for a minute.

Add garlic for another minute, stirring and not allowing it to burn.

Add remaining aubergine slices and water and allow to sautée. Add salt.

Once soft and water has absorbed, turn heat down.

In a serving bowl, add rice, almonds, spring onions, both grilled aubergine and sautéed aubergine with ginger and garlic.

Mix well. Add juice of 1/2 lemon, lemon zest, salt to taste and the balsamic glaze (I used a ginger flavoured one) and toss well.

Best eaten while still warm.


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