When I say story, it's less of a 'once upon a time' and more of 'a Frenchman an Indian and a South African meet in a bar' kind of story. My favourite dish for my mom to make for me when I'm feeling the need for comfort food has always been a dish we called Eggs Milanese. I found out that it is actually called eggs Provencal and the way we've been making is not strictly speaking the traditional way either. This was all very confusing as the more traditional version has aubergines and peppers in it and even sometime courgettes, which sounds more like ratatouille to me.
I also make a much loved Indian dish, called Aubergine Masala which in the end is closer to the recipe for eggs Provencal than my mom's dish ever was. So if this is all very confusing for you, suffice it to say - I have chucked all the traditions out and made up my own recipe taking the elements I like most from these recipes, putting them together into one super comfort food meal which just rocks my world.
I have made it at least five times this year already and am still in the process of perfecting it, but here is the recipe as it stands now. It is so yum. Trust me.
Masala Provencal Eggs a la Thekla
2 Tbsp of olive oil
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 medium aubergines, (about 600g – 700g) diced
1 tsp of salt
4 tsp of chopped garlic
2 tsp of garam marsala
2 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of chilli powder (optional)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
100ml of tomato puree
1 Tbsp of Herbs de Provence
(or a combo of marjoram, thyme, basil, sage, rosemary)
2 Tbsp of sugar, or to taste
2 green, yellow or orange peppers, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sized pot fry the onions and aubergines in the oil with the salt. If it starts to stick and dry out, add a dash of water as needed to remove any bits that are sticking and encourage the softening of the veggies.
When they start to soften, in about 10 minutes or so, add the spices and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes and herbs and simmer until the aubergines and onions are soft and the sauce has become a thick gravy, about half an hour. Add sugar to taste, then add the peppers.
You can switch off the stove, put on the lid and leave the stew for 30 minutes before serving. The heat in the pot will cook the peppers. Or you can carry on simmering the stew for about 10 minutes until the peppers are cooked but still firm. Check seasoning and serve.
This dish is great for breakfast served with poached eggs and whole wheat toast. It also makes a great main meal served with rice and salad, or my personal favourite, served on a bed of creamy mashed potato with soft boiled eggs.
For the mash
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
50g of butter or coconut oil (optional)
¾ cup of regular milk or coconut milk (more if needed)
1 Tbsp of smooth Dijon mustard
1 tsp of salt (or to taste)
Boil the potatoes until just done. Pour off the hot water from the potatoes and mash them with the butter until fluffy with no lumps. Add the milk, salt and mustard and mash until smooth and creamy.