Welcome back everyone! Today’s recipe is a French classic stewed vegetable dish called the Ratatouille (pronunciation: Ra.Tuh.Too.Ee). The dish gained hype after featuring in a Disney Pixar movie, ‘Ratatouille’. My version of this traditional food features plums that were vital to complete my stone fruit series. Let’s break down the components of this dish for your understanding:
So first up we prepare a herbaceous tomato gravy base with neatly arranged thin round slices/ scallops of egg plant, potato, zucchini, onion, bell pepper (or tomato), cheese and plums. The dish is generously brushed with some herb butter for an added flavour and finally roasted in the oven with a sweet and sour plum glaze. The plums give this dish a nice ‘achari’ feel that I was hoping to get. This dish is a treat to eat with plain or steamed rice and a perfect meal to put together in a single pot. You don’t have to be vegetarian to love this dish 😀
Recipe Difficulty Level: Basic Serving: 6 people Prep Time: 15 mins Bake Time: 60 mins
For Tomato Gravy Base:
Tomato Purée (ٹماٹر پیسٹ) 1 cup Carrot (گاجر) 1 small Garlic (لہسن) 3 large cloves Spring Onions (ہرا پیاز) 2 small bulbs Green Chillies (ہری مرچ) 3 small Apple Cider Vinegar (سیب کا سرکہ) 1 tablespoon Chicken Stock (مرغ یخنی) 1 cup Fresh Basil (تلسی) 2 large leaves Salt (نمک) to taste Black Pepper (کالی مرچ) to taste Cream (کریم) 2 tablespoons Cooking Oil (تیل) 1 tablespoon
For Herb Butter:
Butter (مکھن) 1 tablespoon heaped Dried Parsley (دھنیا) 1 teaspoon Dried Basil (تلسی) 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano (اوریگانو) 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme (جنگلی پودینہ) 1/2 teaspoon Olive Oil (زیتون کا تیل) 1 teaspoon Salt (نمک) to taste Black Pepper (کالی مرچ) to taste
For Plum Glaze:
Plum Purée (آلوبخارے کی چٹنی) 1/2 cup Cumin Powder (زیرہ پاؤڈر) 1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Flakes (کٹی لال مرچ) 1/2 teaspoon Brown Sugar (شکر) 1 tablespoon
Fresh Plums (آلوبخارے) 4-5 large Red Bell Pepper (سرخ شملہ مرچ) 2 medium-sized Zucchini (گھیا توری) 1 large Egg Plant (بینگن) 1 large Red Onion (لال پیاز) 1 large Potatoes (آلو) 2 medium-sized Tomato Gravy Base as prepared Herb Butter as prepared Plum Glaze as prepared Mozzarella Cheese (optional) as required
For 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar: Add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (لیمو کا رس).
For 1 teaspoon Dried Parsley: Add 1 teaspoon chopped fresh coriander (ہرا دھنیا).
For 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar: Add 1 teaspoon of White Sugar (چینی).
For Red Bell Pepper: Use same quantity of Tomatoes (ٹماٹر). The purpose is just to add a pop of red colour.
Cooking Pan or a Frying Pan Mixing Spoon Kitchen Knife Cutting Board Mixing Bowls Saucepan Aluminium Foil Cooking Stove Kitchen Oven
Clean your veggies and fruits (egg plant, zucchini, red bell pepper, potatoes, onions, and plums) and slice them into thin discs. Cut out rings of bell pepper and onion. Set the sliced vegetables and fruits aside for later use.
For tomato gravy base, take a cooking pan and sauté minced garlic in cooking oil over medium -low heat. Add minced spring onion and sauté along.
When the garlic releases aroma, add minced carrot and green chillies. Fry for 1 minute and add apple cider vinegar.
Mix and add tomato purée. Let it cook for 3 minutes and add chicken stock.
Add chopped fresh basil, salt and black pepper and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced.
Turn the flame off and mix the cream it. Let it come up to room temperature.
Prepare the herb butter by mixing butter, dry herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, and thyme), olive oil, and seasonings (salt and black pepper). Set it aside for later use.
Work on the plum glaze by straining plum purée to remove skin and unnecessary pulp.
Heat the saucepan with the plum purée to a medium flame and add cumin powder, red chilli flakes, and brown sugar. Simmer the sauce until slightly thick and let it come up to room temp.
Once all the components are ready, pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
Cut slightly thick slices of mozzarella. Arrange the cheese with the veggie and fruit discs in an alternating pattern over the gravy base. There's no hard and fast rule to this pattern. Just start placing the discs from the outer edge and move towards the centre (watch video tutorial linked below for a better demonstration).
Brush the top with the herb butter and cover with a foil. Bake the pan at 200°C for 40 minutes.
Uncover the pan and brush the ratatouille with plum glaze. Bring the temperature down to 180°C and bake for another 20 minutes without the foil.
Take the pan out when the veggies are tender and roasted on top.
Garnish with some basil and chopped spring onion greens or chives. Serve with plain rice and enjoy when hot ❤
Tips and Tricks:
It’s better to slice the potatoes using a mandolin slicer. Thin slices of potatoes cook evenly with other vegetables. In case, you don’t have the utensil, you can slice the potatoes using a kitchen knife and blanch them in boiling water for 5 minutes to initiate their cooking process.
Ratatouille should be as pleasing to the eye as it should be to the taste buds. Try to incorporate all the vibrant colours in the dish. I would prefer red bell peppers from the taste point of view but if you cannot find that, use sliced tomatoes for a red pop of colour like I did.
You can skip mozzarella if you like but I feel like it adds a creamy element to this dish. The less pungent and subtle flavour of mozzarella makes it the most suitable cheese for this dish.
For a better demonstration of this recipe, click on the link below: