Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eggplant Curry

This is a delicious, super healthy vegetable curry that can serve either as a side dish or light but filling main course.  I serve it for myself over a bed of lettuce with plain yogurt on the side, but rice would also work wonderfully as a base.  Or just use as a dip for pita chips or naan bread.

What you need:

1 large eggplant
1 medium-large onion, chopped up
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1-2 inch piece ginger, sliced thinly
2-3 hot peppers of your choice, sliced thinly
2-3 tablespoons curry powder (or use a mix of tumeric, coriander, garam marsala, cumin)
1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
Other vegetables (optional, see note at bottom)
Ketjap Manis or soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1-2 cups milk of choice (Sometimes I just go with regular lowfat milk, other times I use a little coconut milk and part almond milk)
2-3 teaspoons Tahini

Start by roasting the eggplant:

Heat the oven to 425 F and poke a few holes in the eggplant (or else it can explode all over your oven, as I've discovered)  Roast the eggplant for about 25 minutes, or until it is all soft.  Remove from oven, let cool, peel off the skin, and chop the mushy meat of it up.  Before chopping, you can take out some of the seeds from the middle if you want.

Now for the rest of the curry:

Spray a frying pan with oil and add the onion, celery, ginger, peppers, curry powder/ other spice blend, and fennel seeds.  Let the spices toast a bit as you stir the vegetables around the pan.  Add more oil if you feel inclined (this will make this step easier because you won't have to worry as much about burning, but I like to use minimal oil to cut fat).  After everything has browned a bit, add a generous splash of Ketjap Manis or soy sauce and the garlic powder, stir, and let cook for another minute or two.  Add the bay leaves, milk, and tahini.  Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.   You may need to add a little extra water or milk depending on how much vegetable matter you have- the consistency should be pretty thick, but still saucy.  Enjoy!

*Every time I make this, I use a slightly different mix of vegetables, depending on what I have on hand.  You can try adding in chopped bell peppers or leeks at the same point that you add the Ketjap Manis.  Or add mushrooms or tomatoes at the same point as the milk.  Or throw in some roasted pumpkin (a personal favorite).  If you add a bunch more vegetables, just adjust the other seasonings to taste.

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