Tag Archives: ginger

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: Chickpea Curry (Indian Sour Chickpeas)

30 May

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are the basis for many delicious things, from hummus to brownie bites — all made much more easily (and quickly) by using canned chickpeas. This recipe, adapted from Madhur’s Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, is one of our favorites–a light curry sprinkled with onions marinated in lemon juice and ginger (hence the lovely “sour” element).

Serve with rice and other curries for a crowd, or with a simple raita (made with yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and a pinch of mint) for a one-dish meal.

Indian Sour Chickpeas
Serves 6

2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, undrained
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. ground)
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. garam masala
cayenne pepper (if desired)

Preparation

1. Put 3 tbsp. of the chopped onion and the ginger and lemon juice into a small cup. Mix well and set aside.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat and add remaining onions. Fry until slightly brown at the edges, then add the tomatoes. Cook another 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomatoes with the back of slotted spoon.
3. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and their liquid, the garam masala, and the cayenne (if desired). Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cook gently, covered, for about 20 minutes. Before serving, add onion/ginger/lemon mixture. Stir to combine.

Recipe: Orange-Ginger Salmon with Ramen Cabbage Salad

30 Jul

Ramen noodles don’t frequently appear on our dinner menus, but this salad is the reason my children started eating salmon.  With cooked ramen noodles, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro (from the herb garden) in a light orange-honey dressing, it has been a family favorite for years. And since I only make this salad as an accompaniment to the salmon, the kids quickly came to appreciate the whole package. It also helps that the two parts of this meal (adapted from an old Redbook magazine recipe) look so nice together.

Orange Ginger Salmon with Ramen Cabbage Salad
Serves 5-6

Marinade
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. orange juice
3 tbsp. honey
1 heaping tsp. ground ginger, or 1.5 tbsp. freshly grated ginger

2 lb. salmon fillets
3 (3-oz.) packages Oriental-flavored ramen noodles, broken into halves
1 (1o-oz.) bag grated carrots (about 4 c.)
1 (1o-oz.) bag shredded red cabbage (about 4 c.)
1/4 c. packed chopped cilantro

Dressing
3/4 c. orange juice
6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 seasoning packets from the ramen noodles

Combine marinade ingredients in glass 9×13 baking dish. Place salmon fillets in dish and let marinate while preparing the salad, turning salmon occasionally.

Combine dressing in ingredients in a large salad bowl, mix well, and add carrots and cabbage, tossing to coat. Cook noodles in boiling, unseasoned water for two minutes, drain, and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shake the colander to remove excess water, set aside to drain further, then add to cabbage mixture and mix well.

Remove salmon from marinade and broil (or grill) about 5 minutes per side, basting with marinade. Place on platter. Just before serving, add cilantro to salad and combine. Serve salmon with salad.