Tag Archives: eggplant

Recipe: Spicy Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes

27 Oct

I have always loved logic problems. You know–the kind where a man in a blue coat on a bus is sitting two seats away from a woman with red hair who is diagonally across from another woman using an iPhone and one seat away from a man with a green scarf reading the paper.  Eventually, given more clues, you’d have to say where everyone was sitting, what color hair they had, what they were wearing, and what they were doing.

Perhaps that is why I also greatly enjoy certain culinary challenges. For example, tonight we had friends over for dinner and had a lovely time with them. But having lived in Berkeley, we learned early on to ask if our guests had any dietary preferences or restrictions. This time around, several of our guests could not eat dairy, gluten, or meat (two friends are each avoiding one of those items, the other cannot have two of them–but no one friend is avoiding all three). Five people at the table tonight ate anything and everything. No one was vegan.

So, what to serve? In cases such as this, I find that Indian food is perfect. There are myriad vegetarian and non-dairy options, and rice does not contain gluten. So I decided to use this opportunity to experiment by making several dishes I haven’t tried before. This eggplant dish is one of them, and one of the reasons I chose it is that it can be served at room temperature. Anything that can be made ahead of time, I like. This recipe, which family members deemed a keeper, is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.

Spicy Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes
Serves 6

1 tsp. ground ginger
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1/8 c. water
1 3/4 lb. baby eggplant
about 1.5 c. canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 (15-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/8 tsp. cayenne (or chili flakes)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Preparation

1. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into halves, then cut each half lengthwise into four strips; cut the strips in half crosswise.
2. Heat 1/2 c. of the oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat; when hot, add one layer of eggplant and cook until the eggplant is golden-brown, turning pieces over as they cook.
3. Remove eggplant and drain on a layer of paper towels.
4. Repeat until all eggplant slices have been cooked, adding additional oil to the pan each time as needed.
5. Once all the eggplant has been cooked, keep about 3 tbsp. of the oil in the pan, and discard the rest.
6. Add the fennel and cumin seeds to the hot oil in the pan. Stir for a few seconds, then add the tomato, ginger-garlic mixture, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and sugar
7. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking up the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon. Continue to cook until the mixture gets thick and paste-like.
8. Return the eggplant to the pan and gently mix in; add the lemon juice. Cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes, adding some of the reserved tomato liquid if the eggplant looks too dry.
9. Check the seasonings and adjust as needed (you may like to add more salt, or a pinch more sugar, or a bit more lemon juice).
10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe: Eggplant with Garlic Vinaigrette

23 Apr

I love eggplant–any which way, shape, or form–and this recipe is one of my favorite ways of making it. Caveat: in addition to liking eggplant, you must really like garlic, too, and you must eat this with other garlic lovers, because this is not a subtle dish–it is very ‘aromatic.’  Nonetheless, it is a beloved dish at our house–my daughter ate almost half of this platter of eggplant by herself!

I have always pan-fried it, pouring liberal amounts of olive oil into the pan as needed–but you could also try grilling whole eggplant slices then drizzling with the vinaigrette. The eggplant is great on its own, but is lovely when combined with other things. For our Mediterranean antipasti/tapas/mezze meal this past weekend, we created mini open-faced sandwiches by slathering pieces of crusty baguette with Turkish Feta Dip with Paprika, then topping with the eggplant and some Roasted and Marinated Bell Peppers. The eggplant is great with pita and hummus, too.

Eggplant with Garlic Vinaigrette

2 eggplants
salt and pepper
olive oil

Vinaigrette:
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
sprinkle chili flakes/crushed red pepper

Preparation

1. Slice eggplant into 1/4-inch slices, sprinkle with salt, and set in colander in sink to drain for about 30 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vinaigrette ingredients.
3. Rinse eggplant with cold water and pat dry between two dish towels, then cut the slices into quarters. Sprinkle with pepper.
4. Heat a cast-iron frying pan on medium-to-high heat, add a liberal amount of olive oil, then add eggplant quarters in batches (a single layer at a time). Cook until eggplant is dark golden brown on all sides, turning eggplant over with tongs to ensure even cooking, and adding more olive oil as necessary.
5. When each batch is done, arrange on serving plate and use a small spoon to drizzle a tiny bit of the vinaigrette onto each piece of eggplant while the eggplant is still hot (try to get a bit of garlic on each piece). Continue cooking all eggplant in batches, drizzling each batch with the garlic vinaigrette. The eggplant will soak up the vinaigrette.
6. Serve at room temperature.

Adapted from Joanne Weir’s From Tapas to Meze.