A wholesome comfort Maltese traditional meal! A classic in the Maltese cuisine; these stuffed aubergines are a great weeknight meal.
Throughout its history Malta has been ruled by many different nations and settlers. All these different rulers have left striking influences into several aspects of what is now Maltese. In particular our cuisine! Maltese cuisine is a huge melting pot. Basically, similar to the language, Maltese cuisine is highly influenced by the British, Italian and also Arabic/Middle Eastern rulers. Today’s recipe is one that might have travelled to Malta from its Arabic/Middle Eastern rulers.
In our cuisine we stuff a lot of vegetables. Mainly, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, and peppers. Stuffed aubergines, or as known in Malta, ‘brunġiel mimli’, is actually one of the most popular dishes on the island. They are extremely easy to prepare and definitely one of the most healthy filling meals you can enjoy in Malta. Typically, these stuffed aubergines are filled with a rich meat sauce and then roasted to perfection.
What type of aubergines?
To make these stuffed aubergines it’s fundamental to give importance to the aubergines themselves. Although the size of the aubergines doesn’t really matter, keep in mind that larger and chunkier ones are definitely easier to fill than the thin or small. However, the smaller ones tend to have a sweeter taste. In this recipe I went for medium sized ones. Apart from choosing the size, you need to make sure that you use good quality aubergines. Basically you need to check that the aubergines are fresh and aren’t bruised, meaning their skin is still all whole and shiny.
What’s in the filling?
A rich meat sauce is the luscious filling that makes these stuffed aubergines incredible! In Malta we tend to stuff our vegetables with this savoury sauce. However, this ain’t the only way. Another popular filling is to fill them with rice along with the sauce, or else just rice and other vegetables. Personally, I find that for the aubergines the meat sauce complements the vegetable perfectly.
How many to serve for each person, mainly depends on the size of the aubergines you use and what kind of meal you are after. I have served half an aubergine with roasted Maltese potatoes (patata l-forn), which you can either bake on the side in another dish, or else you can bake the potatoes in the same dish with the stuffed aubergines. On the other hand, you can also serve a whole aubergine with a lighter side, such as a salad. For this reason, this recipe makes about 3 or 6 portions. This will depend mainly on how you will serve these stuffed aubergines.
Brunġiel Mimli – Maltese Stuffed Aubergines
- 3 aubergines medium sized
- 500 g minced meat
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
- 300 ml tomato passata
- 1 white onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 60 g parmesan cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start by roasting the aubergines. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F. Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise and score the inside by creating a crosshatch pattern. Be careful not to pierce the skin. Salt and oil the flesh. Bake for 40 minutes.
- While the aubergines are baking, prepare the sauce. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion for about 5 minutes. Once cooked add the garlic and let cook for another 5 minutes.
- As soon as the onions and garlic are cooked, add the curry powder, cayenne powder, cinnamon, and tomato concentrate. Cook for about 3 minutes.
- Break the minced meat, add it to the pan and let it cook. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomato passata and mix everything together. Let it simmer on low heat.
- Once the aubergines are ready, take them out from the oven and let them cool slightly. Scoop the flesh of the aubergines, chop it up roughly and add to the sauce.
- Stuff the emptied aubergines with sauce. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese. Bake the stuffed aubergines until they are nicely brown in a 200°C or 430°F oven.
- Take them out from the oven and let them rest slightly before serving.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. Please also rate this recipe by double clicking on the stars below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list down below so to receive the recipe updates straight to your mailbox!