A few years ago, I participated in a library cooking program. Every month, the library director, my friend and coworker Melissa, and I demonstrated recipes according to a theme. One of our themes was Indian cuisine. Now, until that program I had never eaten Indian food, much less cooked Indian food; nonetheless, I’m always game for an adventure, and so I forged ahead.
The library system has a vast cookbook collection, so there were a number of Indian cookbooks. Since we each demonstrated two recipes, I chose a vegetarian and a beef dish. I wanted to make something that was at somewhat familiar to our regular participants, so I chose to make eggplant curry recipe, Baingan Bharta. The ingredients were similar to my eggplant smothered in tomato gravy; the differences were in the spices: cumin, coriander, & turmeric. I remembered being somewhat anxious as I put it all together, “what if this is gross?” went through my head more than once, I’ll tell you that. However, I was pleasantly surprised, as were our patrons. I served it with naan, although it also pairs well with basmati rice. Melissa had made raita, which tamed the fire of the chili pepper.
Eggplant Curry Printable recipe
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons garlic, grated
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 eggplants, unpeeled and cut into 1″ cubes
28 oz diced tomatoes, drained (reserve 1/2 cup juice)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat oil and cook onion until very soft.
Add garlic, coriander, cumin, and turmeric, cook for another 5-10 minutes on medium high heat.
Add eggplant and jalapeno, stirring well to coat with the seasoned onion.
Stir in tomato paste and drained tomatoes.
Add reserved tomato juice and 1/2 cup water.
Cover and simmer over very low heat until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick, about 30 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with naan bread or over rice.
Garnish with cilantro, if desired.