Turkish Ali Nazik: Lamb in Smoked Aubergine
Ali Nazik is one of my absolute favourite dishes at our local Turkish restaurant - which is incidentally, amazing. I thought it was just something they had created and it tastes like quite a complex blend of flavours so is hard to guess the ingredients, but on a recent jaunt to the homeland I spotted the same dish on the menu at their Turkish place, Bosphorus (also very good), which got me very excited. Upon googling it, it's actually unbelievably easy to make - essentially a kind of babaganoush style blend of charred aubergine, tahini and olive oil - and it tastes incredible. Here's the recipe:
Serves 2 hungry people
You will need:
Garlic clove, crushed
400g diced lamb shoulder (you could use chicken breast or thigh fillets if you like)
Handful of parsley
Halve the aubergine and place it under a hot grill, turning frequently until cooked through and very charred and blackened on the outside. Don't brush it with oil or anything like that. Once it's cooked, set it aside to cool.
Sprinkle the meat with a couple of teaspoons of cumin and massage it in, before spreading out on a baking tray and placing under the same hot grill - keep checking and turning. Should take 8 mins or so for pink lamb.
In a blender combine a good tablespoon of tahini with the garlic, few squeezes of lemon juice, a dash of olive oil and the aubergine (with stalks and blackened skin removed). Blend until very smooth. Taste and season with the salt and pepper, plur more lemon if needs be.
Plate up by layering the aubergine puree with the chargrilled lamb and spooning over a generous helping of yoghurt. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sumac and the fresh parsley.
Traditionally served with rice or pita, but we had a tomato, chilli and onion salad and some pickled white cabbage, which was nice too. Think kebab accompaniments!
You're supposed to top with melted butter but there really is no need for that. If you're easy on the olive oil and tahini, and use fat free yoghurt this comes in at around 450-500 cals.