Monday, January 6, 2014

Aubergine-Layered Lasagna

Star Q

I definitely believe that there is always something for me to learn every day when I read.  It doesn't really matter what I read; it can be magazines, newspapers, novels or even blogs or journals.  And the things that I learn from these materials that I read don't necessarily have to be something that changes the world.  It can be something like food nutrition.

This morning I read about the health benefits of aubergines.  It occurred to me that I had three huge aubergines (each one twice the size of my fist!) and what better way to use them then to incorporate them in my cooking.  Now, I am about the only one in my household who loves aubergines so I thought maybe I could use it in something that my family loves, like lasagna. 

And so, while preparing breakfast this morning, I also started slicing the aubergines, chopping the onions and defrosting the ground chicken meat to be used in my lasagna.  Here's the recipe.

  • 9 pieces quick-cooking lasagna sheets
  • 3 aubergines, sliced lengthways, 1 cm thick each
  • 300 g minced chicken meat
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 tin (400 g)diced tomatoes
  • 1 tin (300 g) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 6 tbs vegetable oil

Place the sliced aubergines in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Set aside for about 5 minutes, then wash away the salt and pat the aubergines dry.  Heat 1 tbs oil and fry the aubergines for about 30 seconds on each side.  Fry in three batches (using 3 tbs of the oil)  Leave aubergines aside to cool.

Next prepare the white sauce.  This cheats version uses cream of chicken soup prepared according to the instructions given, only I used half the amount of water instructed.  Once the soup starts to come to a boil, stir in half of the grated cheese until dissolved.  Set the sauce aside.

For the tomato sauce, heat the remaining vegetable oil (3 tbs) in a pan and saute the diced onions until softened.  Add in the minced chicken meat and stir until half cooked, then pour in the diced tomatoes.  Let this come to a boil, add the sugar and stock cube and continue to cook until the sauce thickens.  Set aside.

 In a casserole, put some of the tomato sauce, enough to just cover the bottom.  Lay three pieces of lasagna sheets (I cut the sheets to fit the corners of my casserole dish)  Arrange a layer of aubergines onto the lasagna sheets and spoon over some white sauce.  Repeat the process once again.  The final layer consists of one layer of lasagna sheets, tomato sauce and white sauce.  Sprinkle over the rest of the grated cheese.

Cover the cassrole dish with foil and bake in a preheated oven of 180 C for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, remove the foil and bake further for another 15 minutes for the top to brown slightly.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and cover with foil once again.  The lasagna is ready to be served.

Note : I notice that covering the cooked lasagna with foil after cooking avoids the cheese topping from hardening because I prefer a creamy texture for the topping.

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