Easy Eggplant Curry

by rivka on October 3, 2011 · 6 comments

in easy-as-a-1-2-3, gluten-free, sides, vegetarian, weekday lunch

Somehow, D and I were hosted for all of our Rosh Hashana meals. Five times, we found ourselves in good friends’ homes, ripping off pieces of round, honey-dunked challah, and savoring slices of apples picked as nearby as Maryland, and as far as a friend’s hometown of Omaha. Five times, we ate way more than we needed to, fought to stop ourselves from taking one more piece of mushroom tart, one more spoonful of ethereal fennel soup, one more scoop of squash gratin, one more slice of my mom’s famous carrot kugel, one more bite of toasted coconut ice cream. Needless to say, we’re pretty stuffed.

(Another highlight, while we’re on the topic: my mom made a sweet-savory noodle kugel with feta. Talk about creative! I’m going to need that recipe.)

Alas, the languid pace and gluttonous eating of the past three days can’t go on indefinitely. There’s work – a new job, for one of us – right around the corner. And while, after weeks of working too hard and having little time for myself, it was great to not have to cook for this holiday, it also means that the fridge is strangely free of leftovers. Needless to say, I had to rectify that situation.

I discovered this Food52 recipe last year, and made it probably 10 times in the ensuing weeks. It takes maybe 30 minutes, start to finish; it keeps in the fridge for days, maybe even improves as it sits; and it reheats like a charm at the office, which by now you know seals the deal for me.

I serve this curry with brown rice and a scoop of yogurt. If you’re feeling fancy, you can make raita to go with it, but plain yogurt works nicely, too. We’ve got a container full of the stuff, waiting to greet us at the end of the workday tomorrow. There’s no better way to start the new year.

Easy Eggplant Curry
Adapted from “Purnima Garg’s Eggplant and Tomato Curry” on Food52
serves 4-6

3 tablespoons peanut oil (canola also works)
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, sliced
4 Japanese (long and thin) eggplants, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 serrano chile, seeded (if you’re concerned about spice – I left my seeds in) and chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground coriander
14 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan until it shimmers. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and heat about 30 seconds, until they pop.

Add the sliced onions, and stir occasionally over medium high heat until they are deep brown in spots (this will take a while, but makes a big difference to the taste and they won’t burn if you are careful).

Add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add half the eggplant, and saute until the skin turns brown and the flesh just starts to soften. Remove onions and cooked eggplant to a heatsafe bowl. Add the final tablespoon of oil, the remaining eggplant, and saute until browned and slightly softened. Add the onions and the first batch of eggplant back to the pan.

Add the chile, coriander, garam masala, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium low and cook, covered, until the eggplant is soft, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot with rice and plain yogurt or raita. Feel free to add other condiments, like spicy pickle or chutney.

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