Tunisian Spiced Aubergine with a Soft Poached Egg

9 Nov

This is another 0ne of those aubergine dishes that you have to try even if you think you don’t like aubergine. We are coming to the end of the season here now so it maybe your last chance to change your life. Or your eating habits anyway..

This is dish from Delia Smith (we love Delia) and she got it from an Elizabeth David recipe. It is supposed to be served at room temperature, drizzled with olive oil and served with some warmed pita breads on the side, a blob of greek yoghurt and fresh herbs on the top.

You can definitely serve it like that it is delicious. It is perfect as part of a mezze, for a buffet or to take on a picnic. The thing is that in Delia’s picture the blob of Greek yoghurt on the top looks a lot like a poached egg, and I also had Pease Pudding’s beautiful Baba Ghanoush & Poached Egg in my head. So I had to try it didn’t I?

Poached Egg or Greek Yoghurt?

Poached eggs are one of those things that strike fear into the hearts of many. Good cook or beginner we’ve all had a nightmare or are just too scared to even try. There are a million different theories of the best way to poach an egg, it can get confusing.

The Washer Up, who makes the best poached eggs, boils the water first then turns it off and slides the egg into the water ( from a bowl or ramekin). He then puts on the lid and leaves it for about 3 -4 minutes.

Smitten Kitchen has an excellent tutorial with step by step instructions and pictures that are definitely worth looking at if you are unsure.

Tunisian Aubergine with a Soft Poached Egg

Serves 3-4 vegetarian/vegan. Adapted from Delia Smith

  • about 800 gr aubergine, chopped into 1 cm cubes
  • about 1 tbsp salt
  • about 800 gr ripe tomatoes (or 2 400 ml tins if you are feeling lazy)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  •  1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  •  a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt & black pepper
  • To serve: chopped fresh herbs, smoked paprika, warm bread, olive oil, Greek yoghurt
  • or 1 egg per person.
  • white vinegar

Start making the aubergine the day before or in the morning if possible to give the flavours time to develop. Place the cubed aubergine in a large colander, sprinkling each layer with salt then cover with a plate and weigh it down with 2 or 3 full tins/cans to squeeze the liquid out of the aubergine. Put the colander on  plate and leave to drain for an hour.

After half an hour preheat the oven to 230 C. Meanwhile skin the tomatoes by putting them in a large bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Leave for one minute then drain them and slip them out of their skins. Cut them in half and place, cut side up on a lined baking tray. Brush the tomatoes with a little olive oil and set aside.

Toast the cumin seeds and allspice berries in a dry pan until fragrant and popping. Tip into a pestle and mortar and crush to a powder.

When the aubergines are ready squeeze out any more juices and dry them with a clean tea towel. Place them in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil and toss to coat. Spread them out on another lined baking sheet and put both baking sheets in the preheated oven. The aubergines on the top shelf and the tomatoes on the next one down.

Cook for about 25 minutes until the aubergine is golden brown and the tomatoes soft. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onions until soft and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic & chilli and cook for another minute. Add in the chopped tomatoes, aubergines and crushed spices, mix well, stir in the fresh herbs and season with salt & black pepper. Bring to a simmer and pile into serving dish. Cover and leave in the fridge for 24 hours or more if possible.

To serve either:

Remove from the fridge half an hour before you want to serve it so that it comes back to room temperature. Drizzle with olive oil, and top with a blob of Greek yoghurt, the fresh herbs and sprinkle over a little paprika. Serve with warmed bread.


Heat the aubergine slowly, over a low heat while you cook the poached eggs. Half fill a saucepan with water andd a squirt of white vinegar and bring it to the boil. Meanwhile crack your eggs into (separate) teacups or ramekins. When the water is boiling, turn it off and stir the water with quickly with a spoon to create a whirlpool. Slide the egg carefully into the centre of the whirlpool, put the lid on and leave for 3-4 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon to a piece of kitchen paper to drain and snip off any scruffy edges with kitchen scissors. Cook the rest of the eggs the same way. To reheat the eggs put them into the hot water for 1 minute.

Serve the warm aubergine topped with the poached egg, sprinkled with paprika and chopped fresh herbs.

 Split the egg with a knife and let the soft, silky yolk run into the hot, spicy aubergine, Hopefully….

Things That Made Me Smile Today………….




And green……….!


22 Responses to “Tunisian Spiced Aubergine with a Soft Poached Egg”

  1. Ayako Mathies November 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Looks so wonderful and it is even more so as I love runny eggs…

  2. Cooking through the seasons November 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    I know I will love this recipe

  3. Chica Andaluza November 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    How wonderful and with a poached egg – perfect. Poached is my favourite way to eat eggs and I do them like the Washer Up! Good old Delia, am just about to turn to her Christmas Book for her light Christmas Pudding recipe which I love. We have just picked the last of our aubergines, so may just have enough to try this out.

  4. Ramona November 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    What a lovely dish!! I bet those flavors just burst in your mouth and don’t get me started on how good that poached egg looks!! Yum. I like the washer-ups method. : )

  5. Isabelle @ Crumb November 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    This reminds me of one of my favourite appetizers at a local Tunisian restaurant. They top theirs off with hard-boiled egg, but your version with the soft-boiled egg sounds so much more luxurious… after all, a perfectly poached egg is always better than hard-boiled!
    (I am very jealous of your sunny skies and blooming roses, BTW… my garden is most definitely into pre-winter hibernation mode, which means that nothing is blooming besides the hardy mums. Sigh.)

  6. Joanne November 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Oh my…the poached egg just makes the dish!!! This looks amazing.

  7. Three Well Beings November 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    I’m being quite sincere, Natalie, when I say that you have completely transformed the way I think about cooking. I eat very healthy and follow a vegetarian diet, but I wouldn’t say I’m a cook. However, I look forward to every post, print out each recipe, and I’m trying to work may way through as many as possible. This is just a gorgeous dish and I am sitting at my work desk at 8:45 in the morning with my mouth already watering. Please keep it up! Debra

  8. Savorique November 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    I think I told you once already, but this new recipe proves again that you are the Queen of eggplant! It’s such an under estimated vegetable yet so interesting when prepared well and with creativity.
    May I suggest an idea for your posts? It’d be useful to see a summary of total preparation time and cooking time. I think it’s a very helpful information for us cooks. You’re doing such a great job already.

    • foodblogandthedog November 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks for the suggestion, I’m definitely going to try to put up cooking and preparation times up from now on, if I can be organised enough to write them down that is!! 😀 Great idea Savorique!!

  9. A Tablespoon of Liz November 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    This recipe looks so amazing, and so hearty! Something I would definitly eat, that’s for sure, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  10. thecompletecookbook November 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    What a beautiful hearty and healthy meal – love the poached egg on top – finishes it beautifully.
    🙂 Mandy

  11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide November 9, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    That yolk is amazing. Those eggs must be fresh. What a wonderful meal. Hi to Rufus.

  12. peasepudding November 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Wow those eggs look perfect and I love your aubergine with all those herbs. Good old Delia, she always comes up trumps but i have to confess I don’t even posses on f her books but when I google recipes I still have the habit of searching UK sites first. Thanks for the link back.

  13. Savory Simple November 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    This looks absolutely gorgeous!

  14. thefooddoctor November 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    I love eggplants and I am always looking for new recipes to use them
    I will keep an eye for eggplants on y shopping trip tomorrow

  15. The Travelling Chopstick November 10, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    I love Delia too 🙂 what a great recipe and perfectly timed, I have an aubergine in the fridge and my aubergine hating fiance is going away for business tomorrow…hmm I think this will have to be dinner! 🙂

  16. janet @ the taste space November 10, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    I love how we both had Tunisian eggplant dishes this week…. definitely loving the flavours. 🙂

  17. Tony Ward November 10, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Is this one for your Mother ?? Love the look and sound of this little gem dahling…So much to cook and so little time. xx

  18. kellie @ foodtoglow November 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    That looks divine – wouldn’t change a thing about it. We keep hens so I am always sticking poached eggs on things (nice on caponata). This will get made soon, before we start getting tasteless hothouse aubergines.

  19. Beth Michelle November 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    This looks so delicious. I love that you topped it with a poached egg!

  20. tiffany November 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Oddly enough, do you know what my favorite part of this dish is??? The mint! 😀


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