Growing up in rural North Florida in the 1980s no one we knew ate curry and vegetables always had meat, or meat byproduct (rendered pork fat, butter or stock), in them. So you could imagine my delight when I tried eggplant curry in San Francisco. I couldn’t get over how warm/spicy it was and absolutely floored when I discovered it was also vegetarian. As soon as I made it home the tablet came out and I spent the whole night researching how to make this dish. Over the years I’ve tweaked it to make it into a simple, easy to manage and vegan weeknight dinner that’s sure to perk up anyone’s mid-week blues.
- 1 1/2 Lbs Aubergine (Eggplant), Sliced in half length ways from the top to bottom
- 2 Small or 1 Large, Yellow Onions, Remove the stem end, but leave the root end intact, peeled and quartered
- 2-3 Serrano Chili Pepper (Feel free to use your favorite fresh chili pepper.)
- 8 Fresh Curry Leaves (Or 12 Frozen)
- 6 Oz Canned, Whole Peeled Tomatoes (Ruffly Diced into 1/4 inch pieces.)
- 1 Cup Water (Chicken, or Veggie, Stock would work as well.)
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger/Garlic Paste (Equal parts ginger and garlic grated.)
- 1/2 Tablespoon Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Garam Masala
- 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Flavorless Cooking Oil
- Place your eggplant, onions and chilies on a sheet pan and place under your oven's broiler. Roast on high heat turning every 3-4 minutes until well chard. (The chilies peppers will become chard faster than your onions. So remove them about 1/2 way through the process.) Turn off the oven, remove the sheet pan and allow to cool enough to handle without the risk of burning yourself.
- Dice the onions and tomatoes into a 1/4 inch dice and set aside.
- Dice the chilies into a 1/8th inch dice and set aside.
- Peel your egg plant and place the flesh on cutting board. Ruffly dice into a 1/4 inch bits and set aside. It's fine if you leave a little chard skin on your eggplant, but remove as much as possible.
- In a medium size stock pot add your cooking oil, curry leaves, ginger/garlic paste and fry on medium high for 2 minutes.
- Add the onions, 1/2 of the garam marsala along with 1 teaspoon of salt and saute until lightly brown on the edges.
- Pour in the tomatoes, turmeric, paprika, and remaining salt with the eggplant and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until a nice fond appears (turns a medium brown) in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in the water and stir while scraping the bottom of the pan with your utensil until it's fully mixed. Simmer on medium high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the curry tightens up. Add the remaining garam marsala stir to incorporate.
- Serve over basmati rice, or naan bread, and enjoy!