Chef Hany Ali’s Fire Roasted Eggplant & Blistered Shishito Peppers


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Chef Hany Ali’s Fire Roasted Eggplant & Blistered Shishito Peppers

August 11, 2023
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Chef Hany Ali’s Fire Roasted Eggplant & Blistered Shishito Peppers

If we learned anything during our visit to Europa Village Winery & Resort in Temecula, Ca., it’s that Executive Chef Hany Ali loved and respected his momma. Though his culinary training focused on French cuisine, he still makes it a point to incorporate some of his late mother’s traditional Egyptian cooking into both the restaurant menus, and also the cooking classes he teaches at the resort. During our visit he showed a group of California Grown Creators how to make her famous fire-roasted eggplant recipe which topped a luscious bed of hummus made from fresh garbanzo beans. It’s a recipe he’s been making since he was a child.

Cooking Was A Family Affair

“Growing up, my father used discipline us and your consequence will be counting the garbanzo. So we got to count the garbanzo,” Hany laughs. “Mother would make me cut the eggplant and clean the eggplant and for her to use. Then we squeezed the lemons and all that kind of stuff.”

It was these moments in the kitchen that inspired Hany to become a chef. “She used to say, don’t play with the food. If she asked you to count the garbanzo, you count the garbanzo. If she asked you to cut the eggplant, you cut the eggplant,” he remarks. “And I watched that [fire-roasted eggplant] dish and I remember the first time I made it on my own and I hand it to her and I said, here, try this.”

Hany’s mother was encouraging, but also wasn’t afraid to critique his efforts. “She said, you’re almost there. I am proud of you that you’re paying attention,” he remembers. “Those are the moments that make you continue to impress your parents. Cooking was in my heart from the young age,” he says.

“I am the only chef in the family,” Hany says proudly. “But everyone was against it when I wanted to become a chef because they said there is no future.” Hany wasn’t deterred. He would stay up late at night and watch Emeril Lagasse, Anthony Bourdain, and Thomas Keller. “I was inspired by all these amazing chefs that devote their heart and soul into cooking,” he says. Despite his parents’ reservations, Hany went on to become a chef anyway, getting his formal training in Egypt and in Europe.

Of course his parents and entire family are impressed with his accomplishments, not the least of which is helming the restaurant program at Europa Village in Temecula. Hany still cooks many of his mother’s recipes, usually updating them with readily available California Grown ingredients. In this recipe for Fire-Roasted Eggplant, for example, he adds shishito peppers he sources from the farmers market.

Fire Roasted Eggplant Plated

Chef Hany’s Fire Roasted Eggplants with Shishito Peppers

“Fire roasated eggplant with shishitos tops garbanzo puree made with fresh garbanzo, tahini, garlic, and cumin. The cumin vinaigrette is used on the eggplant which has garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon and lime juice and cumin,” says Hany. “We serve it with baby carrots to add a little crunch. And in the restaurant we always serve it with homemade potato chips or papusas.”

Chef Hany was more than happy to share his delicious recipe for Fire Roasted Eggplant with us. Of course you should definitely pair it with a glass of wine from Temecula Valley.

Here are a Few More Eggplant Recipes to Try

The Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich plated next to bowl of pesto.

Ultimate California Grown BLT

It is hard to improve upon the classic BLT, but we think our Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich just might be the next best thing. From it’s luscious eggplant bacon weave to its grilled asparagus and pistachio pesto this BLT will have you declaring love at first bite.

Eggplant Caponata

Looking for a simpler way to preserve the bounty of fresh eggplants, peppers, and zucchini coming out of your garden just a little while longer? Try making Caponata of Eggplant! This sour meets sweet oven roasted relish is perfect on crostini, cheeseboards, or as a side dish on its own. 

A bowl of caponata of eggplant.

G-Free Foodie’s Eggplant Napoleon

This Eggplant Napoleon from G-Free Foodie is a simple, beautiful vegetarian dish full of nutritious, cheesy flavor and easy to prepare. Pan-fried eggplant slices layered with basil, tomato, and mozzarella cheese before being baked to perfection.

Roasted Eggplant + Garlic Pasta from Salt & Wind

This recipe from Salt & Wind is perfect for late summer when there is so much California produce peaking at the market. This pasta combines crispy garlic, fresh basil and roasted eggplant for a symphony of flavors.

Japanese Eggplant Stir Fry

Japanese Eggplant Stir Fry from Big Delicious Life

This stir fry from Big Delicious Life is a simple plant-based meal featuring Japanese eggplant and oyster mushrooms sautéed in a garlic ginger soy sauce.

Share your eggplant creations with us by snapping a pic and tagging us on social using #CAGROWN. 

Craving more CA Grown goodness? Follow us on Pinterest for fresh and fabulous recipe inspo!

Fire Roasted Eggplant

Fire Roasted Eggplant with Blistered Shishito Peppers

Hany Ali
This recipe from Chef Hany Ali is an updated version of a classic Middle Eastern dish he enjoyed as a child. Eggplants are flash fried then fire grilled and topped with an incredibly addictive cumin vinaigrette. He serves it over homemade hummus. We've included his recipe in the notes below if you want to make your own. Store-bought hummus would also work in a pinch. Serve with potato chips, carrot sticks and/or pita bread.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4 servings
Calories 1147 kcal


For the eggplants

  • 4 Japanese eggplants halved lengthwise and scored halfway through
  • 12 shishito peppers
  • 12 heirloom cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

For the cumin vinaigrette

  • ½ cup chopped garlic
  • 2 cups Chef’s Blend Olive Oil or favorite extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon cumin


  • In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients of the vinaigrette. Gently whisk the mixture and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  • While your vinaigrette is setting, place 2 quarts of frying oil in a heavy-bottomed 8-quart pot. Heat oil to 350 degrees F (180°C)
  • Begin to fry your eggplant by placing it in the frying oil for about 2 minutes – more time may be needed if your eggplant is on the larger side. Remove from oil and place on a drain rack or a paper towel. Lastly, fry your shishito peppers for about 1 minute.
  • Place eggplant onto a heated grill and fire roast until grill marks become present. Remove from grill.
  • Stuff each eggplant with roughly 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Next, place tomatoes and shishito peppers into a bowl and toss with remaining vinaigrette.
  • On desired plate, place about a ½ cup of the chickpea purée onto one side of the plate. In a decorative place, add eggplant, and top with tomatoes and shishito peppers.


Yield: Serves 4
  • 6 c Dried Chickpeas (for canned chickpeas, skip to step #2)
  • ½ c Tahini paste
  • 2 c Hot water
  • ¼ c Lemon juice
  • ¼ c Chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Cumin
1. If starting with dry chickpeas, allow extra time for soaking (overnight), and cooking (about 2 hours). To cook dry chickpeas, soak chickpeas in plenty of water overnight (water needs to be at least double the amount of chickpeas).
2.  When ready, drain chickpeas and place them in a medium-sized pot. Cover with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let it simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
3. If using canned chickpeas, make sure they are drained and rinsed. For a creamy consistency, quickly simmer for 20 minutes in water so that they soften. Strain and cool.
4.  In a separate bowl, combine and whisk tahini paste and hot water. Once it becomes a smooth texture, add lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt and pepper, and cumin.
5. In a food processor, add chickpeas (process is approximately 60 seconds) and slowly pour the tahini mix. Continue to process for about five minutes or until the chickpeas are a smooth consistency. (Sometimes, you must add additional water if the chickpeas are extra starchy. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper, cumin, and lemon juice as needed.)


Serving: 1portionCalories: 1147kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 8gFat: 110gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gMonounsaturated Fat: 79gSodium: 1785mgPotassium: 1471mgFiber: 15gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 2930IUVitamin C: 329mgCalcium: 150mgIron: 6mg
Keyword bell peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, chickpeas, chunky olive oil dip, cumin, eggplant, garlic, Hummus, lemon, parsley, shishito
Tried this recipe?Mention @cagrownofficial or tag #CAGROWN!

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