Current Issue #488

Rare Treat: Roasted Aubergine and Cashew 'Cheese' Dumplings Recipe

Rare Treat: Roasted Aubergine and Cashew 'Cheese' Dumplings Recipe

Duncan Welgemoed hands the recipe reins to Jyoti Bindu of vegetarian hotspot, Pollen 185, for a delicious aubergine ravioli in a simple vegetarian broth; a recipe that allows you to add some flair and experiment slightly.


A fresh aromatic vino. The cheeky splash of funky barrel-aged petite manseng sets off the bright pomegranate and stone fruit of the other guys and high fives our dumplings in rapturous celebration. We think it’s the bee’s knees.



We have a penchant for all kinds of tunes at Pollen, but my go to at the moment is Ali Farka Toure’s The Source. The mixture of blues and jazz with African beats makes you bliss out and think of WOMAD with your feet in the grass, plastic cup in hand, swaying in the hot Adelaide sun. My contrasting song of the moment is Snakeface by Throwing Muses that reminds one of a hot, moody, adolescence with too much eyeliner and bad poetry blues.



– Half-a-cup vegetable stock per person
– Mixed herbs
– A few medjool dates
– Leftover vegetables
– A handful of walnuts
– Maple syrup
– Sumac powder
– Gow gee pastry wrappers
– 2 large aubergines
– 250g raw cashews
– Three lemons
– Garlic
– Apple cider vinegar
– A bunch of dill
– Half-a-cup of capers
– Cavelo nero (a bunch)




1. Place the vegetable stock on the stove and add some more herbs, such as thyme and parsley. Add a few medjool dates, a few drops of soy or black vinegar, and any leftover carrot ends, spinach leaves, mushrooms or whatever looks sad in the fridge. Taste it. Do you like it? Do you want to add something? Salt, pepper, garlic? Go for it. Simmer the broth for 20 minutes and strain. Put back in the saucepan for later.


2. Roast a few handfuls of walnuts on a baking tray lined with baking paper. When they are hot and have turned a suntanned brown (five minutes on medium heat), toss in some maple syrup and sumac powder. Put walnuts back on the baking tray and roast on low for five minutes. (These will last a few weeks, so you can save some in an air-tight container).


(We do three per person but you can always make more. I buy my gow gee pastry wrappers from Kim Wang Supermarket near the Adelaide Central Market. You can pre-make these a few days before you eat.)

3. Get a couple of nice heavy aubergines (eggplants) with no bruising. Slice them in quarters, and then in skinny strips. If you have a blunt knife (tisk tisk) then cut them shiny side down.

4. Put them on a tray with LOTS of salt and oil. Roast until silky soft and don’t worry if the skins are a bit crunchy. Leave to cool.

5. For the cashew ‘cheese’ you can honestly make up so many combinations, but this is what we used for the original recipe at Pollen 185. Boil 250g raw cashews for a few minutes. Rinse and stick in a blender or Thermomix with three tablespoons of salt, juice of three lemons, some (about two tablespoons) nutritional yeast (optional), a cup of warm water, a spoon of garlic (if you want) and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (if you have it). Add a bunch of dill and about half-a-cup of capers. Blend for at least 90 seconds. Taste it. It should have the consistency of hummus.

6. Lay your wrappers out. Use a teaspoon that has been dipped in hot water and put a doll op of cashew cheese about the size of a 20-cent piece to each before adding some roast aubergine to each. Wet the edges, pop another wrapper on the top and, in your hand, pinch the edges. Make sure they are well pinched. You can either pack these, separated by baking paper, in a container to fry off later or do them immediately. They will keep in the fridge for a few days if they are in an airtight container.

7. When ready to pan-fry, get a large, flat frying pan. Coat the bottom with olive oil. Add a few of the ravioli when hot. DO NOT overcrowd the pan. That creates sticky nightmares. Fry them for a few minutes on low heat on each side. When you have flipped them they should be a little brown, maybe a little translucent, and look ready to eat. After about a minute, add a few tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid. This will steam them slightly as well. They should be done after steamed for approximately a minute. Continue until you’ve done them all.

8. Remember that saucepan with the broth? Heat gently to a simmer with finely-sliced cavelo nero (discard the really stalky end bits, or put them in the stock at the start, you do read the whole recipe before cooking right?)


9. To plate up, put some cavelo nero on first, followed by ravioli, broth, and walnuts. If you are feeling extreme, then add flair! Some edible flowers or oven baked chilli kale, this takes two seconds to make and you can Google how. Serve, eat and slurp immediately with your guests or cat.



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