Goodness gracious, but it's been a long while since I've posted! As ever when these droughts occur, I've been insanely busy with Other Stuff, which means that even though people at our house are still eating, I tend to fall back on old standbys, and when/if I do conduct an experiment, I lack time and energy to rationalize the quantities, type things up, and post. But today I have something new, to kick off the new year. (Let us pass over the various horrors that have occurred in recent months, avert our attention from those looming on the horizon, and concentrate - at least for a moment - on our stomachs, shall we?)
I present to the gentle reader a simple and delicious curry, concocted on the sort of dark, rainy winter day when a warm kitchen is the only sensible place to be. I served this dish alongside a simple yellow dal (to which I added sautéed mushrooms at the very end), South Indian coconut rice, onion naan, and a shocking variety of chutney and pickle. There are lots of eggplant curries in my repertoire, but usually the vegetable breaks down to become one with the sauce; this recipe calls for roasting the eggplant first, which helps it keep some structural integrity. In fact, this strikes me as the kind of dish that would lend itself to many vegetables; next time I may add roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and/or cauliflower to the mix, so I encourage you to do the same if fancy strikes you that way.
Happy new year, and bon appétit!
Roasted Eggplant & Coconut Milk Curry
~ 1 large eggplant, cut into 2" chunks
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 tbsp. coconut oil
~ 2 tsp. panch phoran
~ 1 large red onion, diced
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, garam masala, ground coriander, chili powder
~ ½ tsp. each: cardamon, turmeric, white pepper
~ ¼ tsp. each: nutmeg, cayenne (more to taste)
~ 1 14 oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
~ 1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
~ ½ cup chopped, fresh cilantro
~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
~ Toss the eggplant pieces with the olive oil to coat and spread out on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn them over and roast for 10-15 minutes more, until golden and softened but not falling apart. Set aside to cool.
~ In a large deep skillet or pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat and add the panch phoran; cook for a minute or two, until the seeds begin to crackle.
~ Add the chopped onions, stir well, and lower the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, until quite soft but not brown (add a splash of water if things start getting sticky).
~ Stir in the garlic, ginger, and dry seasonings; cook for about a minute, then add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Mix to combine and raise the heat just long enough to bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and allow the sauce to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
~ Add the roasted eggplant, stir well, and continue cooking over low heat for 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and coated the eggplant.
~ Stir in the fresh cilantro, remove from heat, and serve over basmati rice.