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Friday, 16 May 2014

Chickpea and Eggplant Daube: A Mauritian Stew, Vegan Gluten-Free Soy-Free.

Daube is a Mauritian style tomato-based stew, traditionally made with meat or chicken, simmered as a one pot dish with onions, garlic, ginger, spices, chilies and herbs. In the warm subtropical climate of Mauritius, this wonderful lighter-than-a-curry homemade comfort food is much enjoyed in every Mauritian household. Growing up, I have known this dish more often with chicken and occasionnally meat.

Infact, Daube holds its roots from France, adapted from the great classic Daude de Provence. A little bit of history would take us back to the days of the French colonists who brought this culinary wonder to Mauritius. Although the Provence version uses beef braised in a wine-based sauce along with vegetables and the aromatic herbes de Provence, the Mauritian version does not call for wine. While the chicken version is the most popular, I have many-a-times enjoyed a nice vegetarian daube with beans, potatoes and other vegetables, the sauce itself being by default vegan.

The Mauritian way of accompanying a Daube is more commonly with rice but a good freshly baked French baguette is not unpopular either at lunchtime.

A few notes:
Pans: Although this could be cooked in one pot, I suggest using two pans (a deep pot and a skillet) to save time because the eggplant tastes better if half-cooked, and then added to the sauce.
Onions and garlic: I no longer consume onions and garlic but I've included them in the recipe if you decide to use these, since they are typical ingredients in the original dish.

Chickpea and Eggplant (Aubergine) Daube (Mauritian Stew)

Serves 2 - 3

2 tablespoons coconut oil (sunflower or vegetable oil is also good)
1 small onion, chopped or diced finely (optional)
2 garlic cloves (optional)
1-inch cube or 2.5 cm piece of ginger
5 - 6 stems fresh thyme leaves
1 green chilli, coarsely chopped or just slit in half
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (or equal mix of ground cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves)
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
5 - 7 fresh curry leaves (omit if you can't find these, or 2 bay leaves)
1/4 cup coriander leaves (chopped finely)
2 medium-size potatoes, peeled and quartered
400g boiled (or canned) chickpeas
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 large eggplant (aubergine), sliced acoss in 1.5-cm (or 1/2-inch) thick circles
Salt to taste

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large deep pan on a medium heat. 
  • Add the potatoes and stir to evenly coat with oil. Add a couple tablespoons of water. Cover and let cook, occasionally stirring and adding a little water until potatoes are almost cooked (90%). The potatoes need to be almost cooked because the idea here is to allow the potatoes to slightly over-cook in the sauce later. In this way, while they will slightly disintegrate, they will thicken the sauce.
  • While potatoes are cooking, cook the eggplants. In a large skillet on medium heat, add another tablespoon oil. Place in eggplant circles and let cook until only half cooked, occasionally turning them on the other side. A fork test should allow the fork to prick through with a slight spongy resistance. (When completely cooked, the fork will slide it very easily and some moisture from the eggplant will seep out).
  • Once potatoes and eggplant are done, remove from pan and set aside.
  • Wash and dry the pan in which the potatoes were cooking. We will use it to make the sauce.
  • Place tomatoes, ginger and garlic (if using) in a blender and process till pureed. Keep aside.
  • Using the dry deep pan on medium heat, place spices: cumin and garam masala.
  • Roast on dry for about 1 - 2 minutes, constantly stirring to avoid burning. This will release the aroma and intensify the flavour.
  • Next add tomato sauce mixture. Add thyme, curry leaves and onions (if using) and simmer until sauce is reduced.
  • Next, add chickpeas, peas and chili. Add 1 cup water (you may add more later when required) and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add eggplant, potatoes and chopped coriander. Mix well and add another cup water.

  • Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. If the sauce dries out, add a little water. Fork test the eggplant. If eggplants are soft and there is still too much liquid, then leave pan uncovered to reduce the sauce on high heat. You should leave in some sauce though since this is a stew.
  • Sprinkle with salt to taste and give it a good stir.
  • Take off the heat and keep covered until ready to serve.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (or parsley) and serve with rice or French baguette.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (487.1 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 9%Vitamin C 72%
Calcium 9%Iron 40%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

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