In parts of West Africa there is a dish called yassa. This stew originated in Senegal and has since grown in popularity across the region. It’s usually made with meat or fish, but the vegetables can vary. The signature flavors of this dish are citrus, hot pepper, and mustard, with a hit of ginger and onion for good measure. This mushroom version has tons of savory umami flavor, but is hearty enough to be the main course. And we can’t forget the eggplant- if you love this veggie then you will enjoy this eggplant mushroom yassa.
To begin with you will need the right spices. There are quite few for this recipe, so I put some of them together into one bowl to dump into the pot at the right time. There’s bay leaves, garlic, thyme, ginger, and Scotch bonnet pepper. You only need one small pepper to flavor the whole pot because they are very potent.
If you’re worried about it being too spicy you can use half a pepper or a small jalapeño instead. Even a dash of red pepper flakes might do if you really want to keep the heat low.
You’ll also need to toss the chopped eggplant with some salt before sautéing so that some of the moisture can begin to be driven off. Once they’re cooked remove the eggplant pieces from the pan and fry the mushrooms and onions together.
After that stir in the spices and stock. Once that’s cooked together add the eggplant back to the pot with the juice of 2 limes.
This last minute addition of citrus gives the dish a fresh flavor that melds wonderfully with the savory umami of the mushrooms and the bite of the eggplant.
You can serve this eggplant mushroom yassa with any starch of your choice such as potatoes or pasta, but many choose to serve this stew over rice.
Eggplant Mushroom Yassa
20m prep time
33m cook time
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 1 1/4 lbs eggplant, cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb baby bella or button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced
- black pepper to taste
- 8 thyme sprigs
- 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste or chopped ginger
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
- Toss eggplant with salt. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and fry until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove eggplant and set aside for later.
- Add mushrooms and onions to 2 tablespoons hot oil, adding more oil if needed. Fry for 10 minutes or until onions are beginning to become translucent.
- Add thyme, chili pepper, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, vegetable stock, mustard, and the zest of 2 limes.
- Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Simmer for 5 minutes uncovered or until stock is reduced. Remove from heat. Stir in juice of 2 limes and eggplant.
- Remove thyme sprigs. Serve over rice, cous cous, potatoes, or other starch and garnish with chives to serve.
Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.