First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Spiced Beef Mince and Brinj...



Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Spiced Beef Mince and Brinjal Bake

Spiced Beef Mince and Brinjal Bake. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

This takes the idea of a moussaka and treats it as if it were a north African dish. There’s no béchamel sauce, but some subtle spicing.

(Serves 4)


500 g beef mince

3 or 4 brinjals, depending on their size

2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for frying the brinjals

1 large onion, half of it chopped, the other half sliced very thinly

2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 x 400 g can tomatoes

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

1 red chilli, finely chopped

240 g chickpeas (that’s a 400 g can, drained)

200 g Cheddar cheese, grated, for the topping

90 g more Cheddar cheese, grated, for the sauce

Parsley for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste


Sauté the sliced onion in olive oil until golden. Set aside. Cook the chopped onion, garlic and grated ginger in the same pan; add more oil if needed.

Add the tomatoes, chilli, cumin and cinnamon, cook for 3 minutes, then add the beef mince and work it with a wooden spoon to be sure it does not clump. Alternatively, you can crumble the mince in with clean hands. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer for 30 minutes or so until the mince is cooked through and tender, and until nearly all the liquids have cooked away. 

Add chickpeas to the cooked mince and heat through.

Stir in 90 g of the Cheddar cheese and stir to melt.

Slice brinjals thinly and fry them in olive oil. Set aside.

Spoon into a greased oven dish. Make a layer of the cooked brinjal slices. Top with plenty of grated Cheddar. Scatter the gratinated onions on top of the grated cheese. Bake in a 200 g oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cheese and onion topping has browned beautifully. Scatter with chopped parsley before serving. DM/TGIFood

Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.

Send your Lockdown Recipes to [email protected] with a hi-resolution horizontal (landscape) photo.

Thank God It’s Food is sponsored by Pick n Pay.


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 3

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted