I saw several ingredients in the fridge and thought to myself that I should do this for once and for all. My brothers can eat something else (they are not a fan of any kind of vegetable) so this morning I chop, chop and chop like I like chopping.

I don’t, especially tomatoes.

I read somewhere of the origin. It was the farmers in the region of La Mancha that stewed the crops that’s available for their staple meal. And so ‘pisto manchego‘ got its name.

The recipe was told by a fellow local passenger in a bus. We sat together from Irún to Santander. He didn’t say a word until I started the conversation when he refused to stop. I gave him a Malaysian note and he insisted paying on my lunch.

“This is my favourite! How do you make it?”

I was presented to this stew when I was in Madrid. There was an exquisite canned version that made me swoon. The sort of addiction that needs to be attended to, be it a simple spoon. So I kind of consume it religiously, everyday with everything – bread, omelets, rice, pasta or just straight from the can.

So this morning, all I needed was a good pan.

Everything was diced, except garlic which I minced. I was told everything is better if you grill it.

Yes, this is my presentation.

This is good for 4-6 people in one go. It gets better the next day and the next, if you have more.

INGREDIENTS (all diced)

1) One medium eggplant/brinjal

2) One medium cucumber

3) One medium capsicum of your favourite colour. Blue isn’t natural.

4) One big yellow onion plus 2-3 garlic.

5) 1 kilo worth of fresh, ripe, tomatoes or one canned tomatoes with juice

6) Salt, pepper, cumin to taste.


1) Heat your oil. I used olive oil but I’ve tried other vegetable oils with about the same result. Throw your garlic and onions. Let them wilt for a while.

2) Add capsicum. After about 3 minutes, add your eggplant and cucumber. Wait 3 minutes.

3) Lastly add tomatoes and stir frequently. Let all the tomatoes melt and you can see it slowly becoming the gravy. This should take from 5-10 minutes, depending on how ripe your tomatoes are. Let it simmer.

4) Add salt and pepper to taste. Cumin is optional.


My first brunch was served at the university cafeteria with a half of French bread and topped with poached egg. Divine.



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