I was reading my thirty year old copy of the food magazine A La Carte and came across a recipe for ikra, an aubergine dip which seems to have different recipes from different parts of eastern Europe and further afield. The recipes I’ve seen for this aubergine and tomato dip are quite different, usually because the aubergine is grilled, griddled, or roast, whereas here it is boiled. I actually think the grilling, griddling or roasting must give it a lovely smoky distinctive flavour, but this is the Russian recipe from the magazine, which surprisingly includes tomato ketchup (not purée – my spell-check wanted to use Ottoman instead of tomato,  Ottoman ketchup sounds wonderful!!):

Griaznoff Ikra

  • 1 large or 2 small aubergine with stalks cut off
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 4-6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • 1½ teaspoons of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • to teaspoons of lemon juice
  • to serve – squares of rye bread and brine-pickled cucumbers
  1. put aubergine in boiling water, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft
  2. cool, peel and chop
  3. sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until soft but not brown
  4. add the aubergine, ketchup and salt and pepper
  5. cook uncovered over a very low heat until all the moisture has been absorbed
  6. add the rest of the oil, a teaspoon at a time, stirring well
  7. add lemon juice and check seasoning
  8. chill and serve on 1 inch squares of rye bread with a slice of cucumber on top



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