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Meal of the Week: A Calabrian favourite - Mulingiani Chjini

Calabrian delicacy Mulingiani Chjini
Calabrian delicacy Mulingiani Chjini Copyright Savin Mattozzi
Copyright Savin Mattozzi
By Savin Mattozzi
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Italy is famous for its aubergine-based recipes - but have you tried this delicacy from the south?


In Italy, aubergine comes into season during the early summer months of June and July. This super versatile veggie is used in cooking across the peninsula, but perhaps some of the more well known ways to prepare it come from the southern part of the country.

Parmigiana di melanzane and fried aubergine, among other delicacies, have long been popular outside of Italy.

For this edition of Meal of the Week, Euronews Culture looks at a lesser known favourite - spicy Calabrian stuffed aubergine or Mulingiani Chjini in Calabrian dialect.

Aubergine is a very popular ingredient around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. However, the vegetable is not actually native to the area, instead hailing from Southeast Asia and was introduced to the Middle East and Mediterranean via early Muslim traders in the 7th and 8th centuries.

Since its introduction, it has been enjoyed cooked in oil, fried, grilled, baked and everything in between. The one thing that nearly all the cultures who regularly eat aubergine can agree on is that the one of the best ways to eat it is stuffed.

From Georgia to Lebanon and Greece to southern Italy, every place has their own way of preparing the dish.

Let's learn how to make it Calabrian style.

Savin Mattozzi
Fresh ingredients make for a delicious dishSavin Mattozzi


2-3 large aubergines

100 grams of grated parmesan cheese

Half a kilo of dried bread

Two eggs

A handful of cherry tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

A batch of fresh basil

2-4 spicy Calabrian chilli peppers (or regular chills are fine)


Olive oil


Savin Mattozzi
Trust the process - stuffed aubergines in progressSavin Mattozzi


Wash your aubergines well and cut them vertically in half. Bring a pot of water to the boil and lightly salt it. Place the aubergines in the water and let them boil until they are soft to the touch.

While they are cooking, you can prepare your filling. Rehydrate your bread by slowly putting room temperature water in it until it becomes mushy without any hard pieces.


Add in your cheese, eggs, chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, chopped basil, chilli peppers, oil and salt to taste.

Traditionally, this part of the dish is mixed together with hands to make sure everything gets combined evenly, but if you’re squeamish you can always use a spoon.

After the aubergine is soft, let them cool and drain in a calendar for a few minutes.

When they have cooled down a bit, carefully take out the inside by hand and add it to the filling. Be very careful here not to break the skin of the aubergine as it will be very soft.


Once you’ve removed the inside and mixed it in with the rest of the filling, slowly place the filling in the empty aubergine. You should fill it just a bit above the top of it.

Cover a medium or large pan with a layer of olive oil and heat it on a medium flame. Slowly place the stuffed aubergine face down inside the pan, flipping them gently away from you, to ensure you don’t get splattered with oil.

Cook for about five minutes or until the filling is a light brown. Flip it over and cook it for another couple of minutes on the bottom.

Be sure to wait a few minutes before serving as the inside will be very hot.


You’re now all ready to plate it up and enjoy. Buon appetito!

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