eggplant

spicy aubergine curry

3rd September 2013

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Another weekend adventure in the foothills behind Quinta da Regalaria.  It was a glorious day. Everything coming together spanning sky and earth.  Beauty was everywhere.  It was almost dark by the time we made our way back to the car,  all of us exhausted from scrambling through brambly woods and overgrown paths, up and down hills, blissfully happy with nature’s gift and what we discovered.

And this is what we discovered,……our very own stage.  And what a show it was!

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spicy eggplant curry

Serves 4

This is a lighter Summer version of the spiced aubergine and sweet potato curry I posted a while back.  A good way to use up eggplants in the garden.  A very quick and easy meal served with brown rice or quinoa and a garden salad.

ingredients 

¾ cup red lentils

1 medium aubergine

12 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

2 Tbsp ghee/oil

3 cardamom pods

½ tsp turmeric powder

½-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

2 -3 cups water

voggarane

1 Tbsp ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

6 curry leaves (optional)

1 tsp rasam powder

1 tsp tamarind paste

½ tsp jaggery/brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

½ cup fresh coriander leaves

preparation 

1.  Rinse the dal until the water runs clean, then refill and allow to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

2.  First, prepare the aubergine.  Peel the skin from the aubergine and cut into 1 cm circles, and then into small cubes.  Place in a colander, salt well and set aside to draw out the bitter juices for 10 minutes, then pat the aubergine cubes with kitchen paper.

3.  Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.

4.  Place a heavy-bottomed cooking pot over medium heat, add ghee/oil and saute the aubergine until partially softened.

5.  Add the tomatoes, cardamom pods, turmeric powder and ginger – simmer for 10 min with the lid on, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes soften and the flavours in the tomatoes intensify.

6.  Drain the dal and add to the pot with 2 cups water – simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and broken down.  You may need to add water depending on the consistency you desire.

prepare the voggarane

7.  In a small pan, heat a little ghee, add the cumin seeds; when they darken a few shades, add the curry leaves and rasam powder.

8.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, add the tamarind paste, jaggery and salt, stir through the fresh coriander.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Optional to add a handful of spinach or kale and gently warm through.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

spiced aubergine & sweet potato curry

5th December 2010

My vegetable garden is made up of six triangles in the shape of a mandala with an olive tree in the middle and a seat around.  My sanctuary, my space where I find quiet, my contentment and peace.

When I work in the garden, I usually start from one triangle and work my way around until all are rotated, weeded, mulched and planted to satisfaction.  By the time I finish with triangle six, it is time to start at the beginning again and around I go. A cycle or circle of meditation.  There are bees, butterflies, snails, big juicy green caterpillars, foxes, woodpeckers, parrots, and a mole that drives me incessantly crazy.  But my favourite of all, is my friend, the kingfisher.  In the triangular closest to us, there is a knobbly stick which I especially put in for my friend, the elegant, but grand kingfisher to sit on.  And he does sit there, but always flies off before I can get really close to appreciate him and his long beak and aqua, blue wings.

At present, I am up to triangle six, with the last of all the Summer things growing at their dreary end, but still with edible fruit.  This is where the eggplant plant is, a little unruly, but full of black globes.  I have been trying to use them in all different ways, one being this lovely fragrant curry. The sweet potato and aubergine absorb all the beautiful, complex flavours.

spiced aubergine & sweet potato curry

Serves 4

ingredients 

1 medium eggplant

1 small sweet potato

12 cherry tomatoes

3 Tbsp ghee/peanut oil

1-inch knob ginger, grated

3 cardamon pods

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 cups water

cup red lentils, well rinsed

1 Tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp sambar powder (or chilli powder)

voggarane

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

a handful of spinach/kale

½ cup fresh coriander, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

preparation 

1.  Prepare the aubergine, cut into 1 cm circles, and then into small cubes, place in a colander, salt well and set aside to draw out the bitter juices for 10 mins. Peel the sweet potato – cut into small cubes and finely chop the tomatoes.

2.  Pat the aubergine with kitchen paper and place in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add the ghee/oil and heat until almost smoking – fry the aubergine until golden brown on both sides, then remove and drain on kitchen towel.

4.  Place a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the fried aubergine, sweet potato, tomato, ginger, cardamom and turmeric – simmer for 10 minutes.

5.  Pour in 2 cups water, lentils, tomato paste and sambar powder – simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the lentils are broken down and soft.

6. Prepare the voggarane, in a small pan, heat a little ghee, add the mustard seeds, and when they start to splatter and pop, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida – fry for a few seconds.

7.  Pour the voggarane into the curry and add a handful of spinach, kale. Gently warm through.

8.  Season with salt, pepper and add coriander.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee when serving.

Goodness shared from Stacey

roasted aubergine with yoghurt & Indian spices

1st August 2009

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Before leaving Israel for our summer holiday in Australia, I had a lot of aubergines in the garden and I needed to find ways to use them, hence why another post where they feature as the main ingredient.

This one is roasted eggplant, with spice-infused ghee, braised tomatoes, yoghurt and fresh coriander.   I serve it as a side dish to any simple dal and grain, goes well with oven roasted potatoes or as a dip with crunchy vegetables, small cold cucumber slices are especially nice.

roasted aubergine with yoghurt & Indian spices

Inspired by The Vegetable Table by Yamuna Devi

Makes approximately 1½ cups

ingredients 

1 large aubergine

⅓ – ½ cup Greek yoghurt

salt to taste

½ cup finely chopped fresh coriander

voggarane

1 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

tsp asafoetida powder

tsp red pepper flakes

¼ tsp turmeric powder

5 small cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

preparation 

1.  Cook the aubergine over a gas flame or electric grill as described in the recipe for baba ghanoush, until the skin blackens and blisters and the inside flesh is very soft; 10 – 20 minutes.

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2.  Slit the eggplant and scoop the flesh into a bowl, removing the charred skin, allow to sit in a strainer for a few minutes to allow the juice to leak out and drain away as this is quite bitter.  Drain out the bitter juice, place the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork.

prepare the voggarane

3.  Heat the ghee, when hot, add cumin seeds – fry until golden, then add the asafoetida, red pepper flakes, turmeric and within seconds, the tomatoes. Fry until the tomatoes are slightly broken down, 3 – 4 minutes, then add to the aubergine.

4.  Season with salt and stir in the yoghurt and fresh coriander.  Drizzle with ghee before serving and garnish with more fresh coriander.

Serve warm or at room temperature with chapati or your favourite grain dish.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

baba ghanoush (eggplant with tahini)

23rd July 2009

imagine…

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from this beauty, this blossom, an eggplant will be born…

baba ghanoush – eggplant with tahini

This dish is a combination of two strong flavours: the smokiness of the aubergine, and the strong taste of tahini sharpened by lemon.  This is a dish made entirely on taste.  To cook the eggplant, cook it over the stove-top gas flame.  I place directly over the flame or you can place a wire rack over the gas hob to keep distance between the flame and eggplant. (If you don’t have a gas stove, blacken under the broiler/grill).  Cooking it directly over the flame gives it a deep and smoky flavour that you would not get when grilling or roasting.

ingredients 

1 large eggplant

– ½ cup good quality tahini paste

2 Tbsp lemon, or more to taste

salt and black pepper

3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or coriander

for garnish – seeds from a pomegranate, roughly chopped toasted pine nuts

olive oil to finish

preparation 

1.  Cook the aubergine over a gas flame until it is blistering and black, and the flesh feels soft and juicy, rotate every 5-7 minutes for 20-30 minutes. Use metal tongs to turn them. (You can line the base of the gas hob with foil to protect it, keeping only the burners exposed.)

2.  Allow to cool slightly and peel away the charcoal skin.

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3.  Place the aubergine flesh in a bowl, allow it to sit for 5 minutes to allow the juice to leak out and drain away.  This liquid is rather bitter, so discard it.

4.  Mash flesh with a fork, add lemon juice, tahini, salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice, or tahini if you think necessary.  Add the fresh parsley or coriander.

To serve, spread over a shallow dish, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts and drizzle the top with olive oil.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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