Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Middle Eastern Za'atar Prawns with Pan Fried Eggplant and Cauliflower Rice

Hubby and I are currently sitting here in the lounge watching Dynamo the magician on TV - that guy is so intense!! I am such a skeptic, so I watch it in total amazement but also total frustration as I know I'm being conned somehow but can't figure out how he can possibly do those tricks! Truly talented man...

So far school holidays have been running smoothly - the kids and I aren't yet sick of each other and the longer days make it really feel as though summer is on the way. Spring and summer always make me want to eat seafood - something about that fresh, light taste and the many ways you can play around with it make it such a versatile part of the food chain. For this blog, I am going to post the recipe for a Middle Eastern inspired Za'atar Prawn stir fry with gorgeous moist pan-fried eggplant and cauliflower rice. The flavours in this dish are vibrant and exotic, but without overpowering the subtle prawns.

Za'atar Prawns with Pan Fried Eggplant 

Za'atar Prawns


800g uncooked prawns, cleaned and deveined.
1tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp melted coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
grated zest of half a lemon
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1tsp sumac
1 tbsp za'atar seasoning (see below for instructions)

1/2 a red capsicum, deseeded and chopped into large chunks
2 carrots, cut into 1/2cm diagonal slices
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onions, finely sliced
1/2 a red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup vegetable or fish stock

1. In a large bowl, place prawns.
2. In a small bowl, mix together coriander, coconut oil, lemon zest, and za'atar. Mix to combine to create your marinade
3. Pour marinade over prawns, mix well and cover. Refrigerate for around 1/2 an hour.
4. In a large frying pan, add onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add carrots, kale and capsicum. Fry for a couple of minutes until slightly softened. Either remove from the pan, or move to the edges of the pan.
5. Add prawns to the pan and fry until they start to turn pink. Add vegetables back to the pan (or blend vegetables and prawns if you just moved them to the edge of the pan). Add stock (or water) and lemon juice. Fry for a couple more minutes until prawns are cooked through. Serve with eggplant and cauliflower rice (find the recipe for cauliflower rice here http://www.keepingitreal.net.nz/2013/06/zucchini-brownie-success-and-chicken.html). To make the cauliflower rice tie in nicely with this meal, you can add 1 tsp of the za'atar seasoning when you are cooking it). You could also serve with regular steamed rice as an alternative to the cauliflower rice.

Za'atar Seasoning

3 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp dried thyme
1 heaped teaspoon sumac
1/2 tsp salt

1. Over a low heat in a small frying pan, heat the sesame seeds until lightly toasted. Keep a close eye on them, and stir often to ensure even browning and no burning! Cool slightly.
2. In a small bowl add thyme, sumac and salt. Add sesame seeds and mix to combine well.
3. Store in a glass jar in your pantry - a really lovely spice mix to add to your collection.

Pan Fried Eggplant

1 large eggplant, cut into 2cm x 10cm sticks
1 tsp coconut oil
juice of half a lemon

1. Place the sticks of eggplant on a wire cooling rack over a large plate. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt. Don't be shy about adding plenty of salt, as you will be rinsing it off at the end. Let the eggplant sit for about 20-30 mins
2. You will find that lots of liquid drains out of the eggplant during this time. Throw this liquid away, as it is the bitterness coming out of the eggplant.
3. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and rinse well with fresh, cold, filtered water. Give the eggplant a really big squeeze (really get in there with your hands and squish it!). You may like to rinse it a couple of times if you prefer to get more salt off.
4. In a medium frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the eggplant and fry for a few minutes until slightly browned and gorgeously tender. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and mix well. Serve the eggplant either as a side dish or on top of your prawns.

To serve this meal, I used large bowls with the cauliflower rice on the bottom, then the prawns, and then I stacked the eggplant on top. You could also serve this family style in serving bowls so everyone can help themselves.