Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eggplant in Curry Sauce (Baigan Bharta)

Thank God I love Indian food. When I eat vegan, I make a disproportionate number of Indian-inspired dishes. The past few days my house has had this divine scent of spices lingering in the air. I have a cauliflower loitering around too, and I am very tempted to make aloo gobhi (potato and cauliflower curry) or cauliflower with red lentils in a balti sauce. I toyed with the idea of doing something non-Indian-inspired with the cauliflower, but none of the recipes I looked at briefly yesterday seemed all that appealing.

My one gripe, minor though it is, is that unless I want to eat the same dish for 4 days in a row, I have to halve or quarter the recipe, since I am cooking for one. My kids are still a bit leery about eating anything that has exotic spices in it, but I am sure that I will win them over eventually. My older daughter tried out Chicken Korma a few months ago, and she loves tofu, so I am sure I can find some way of melding the two together. I can even make a vegan variety of the sauce with coconut milk instead of yogurt.

So, yes. Plenty more Indian recipes to come. In the meantime, enjoy this eggplant curry. :)
Eggplant in Curry Sauce - Baigan Bharta

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Dash cayenne
  • Dash cinnamon* - I am a freak, but I love it in some of these dishes and when I smelled it simmering, something inside me said “Add cinnamon,” so I did. You may not want to do this.
  • 3 T cilantro stalks and leaves
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes - I used 1 15-oz can and 2 fresh tomatoes
  1. Roast eggplant: Preheat oven to 350. Split the eggplant in half. Sprinkle salt on the cut sides and let sit, cut sides up for 30 minutes.

    Brush off the salt and accumulated water and then brush the cut surface of the eggplant with olive oil and place, cut sides down on a cookie sheet.

    Roast for approximately 1 hour.

  2. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and minced ginger and sauté until they start to get fragrant – don’t let them burn – about 3 minutes.

  3. Add the chopped onion and saute until the onion starts to get translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and stir. Cook another 3 minutes.

  4. Add the coriander, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, turmeric, garam masala and curry powder and stir well to coat.

  5. Cook for another 3 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes. Stir well, cover and let cook down 7 minutes.

  6. While it’s cooking, scoop out the roasted eggplant pulp into a bowl.

  7. Add the cilantro stalks and leaves to the tomato curry sauce. Add the eggplant and stir well.

  8. Taste to adjust the seasoning - as with any of these dishes, you may prefer more or less heat, more cumin, more cilantro, etc.

  9. Now is where I add the cinnamon and extra cilantro. Stir well and serve with basmati rice or naan.

  • Since I am currently avoiding specific carbs, rice and bread, even brown basmati and whole wheat flatbreads, are verboten. I had a low-carb, high-protein whole wheat wrap with my bowl of this curry. I just ripped off pieces of the wrap and spooned the curry in it.

    Perfection. :)


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