A couple weeks ago when Dayle reported having excess eggplant in her garden, she floated the idea of using it to make an eggplant curry. I didn’t have much to say about eggplant curry at the time, so she proceeded to use the eggplant for other things, but I never ignore an opportunity to explore new curry, and so I nosed around to find some recipes. I finally got a chance to try out the most intriguing one the other day.
SOUTH INDIAN STYLE EGGPLANT CURRY
1/2 cup dry coconut powder
3 tablespoons white poppy seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
4 tablespoons besan, i.e. gram flour
1/2 cup nuts, e.g. peanuts, cashews, etc. (optional)
1/4 cup oil
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper or paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons garam masala
4 fresh medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with chilis
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 large eggplant, cut into large cubes
3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
Toast the coconut, the seeds, the besan and nuts (if using) in a nonstick skillet over a low fire until lightly browned. In a different skillet, saute the onion, garlic, ginger and remaining spices in oil for about 10 minutes, adding a bit of water if they get dried out. Add tomatoes, coconut milk and water, as well as the dry toasted ingredients. Simmer on a medium low fire until the tomatoes are softened. Puree the mixture in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Heat through.
If desired, grill or broil the eggplant lightly before adding to the curry. Cook the eggplant in the curry sauce until soft but not falling apart. You want the eggplant to retain its shape, rather than dissolve into the curry sauce. Serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves or coriander chutney.
I made some big changes from the original recipe in order to streamline the process… and because I wanted to use coconut milk to make it creamy, not just the dried coconut for flavor. I was serving the coconut alongside a peanut curry, so I decided not to add the nuts (which is why I marked them optional) to avoid too much sameness in my meal, but if I made this recipe again, I would probably try adding them.
This curry was tasty and the eggplant turned out very well; I was worried it would easily get overdone. My only regret was that the seeds from the first phase of the recipe made it somewhat grainy, despite much attention from the immersion blender. In the future I think I would let them cook for longer before attempting to puree in the hopes they would soften up and blend more smoothly.