Eggplant – What I use it for:
With this year’s crop coming to an end I thought I should use the last few eggplants for my favourite dish – a silky smooth eggplant masala.
In this recipe the eggplant doesn’t really look like eggplant which is a considerable advantage if your 4 year has an avowed dislike of eggplants (referring to it as Brinjal curry also helps in this respect).
- 4 tablespoons canola (or similar light cooking) oil
- 2 onions – chopped
- 3 garlic cloves – chopped
- A knob of ginger (about 2cm in length) – chopped
- ¼ tspn chilli powder or 2 red chillies finely chopped. (This will make it mild as I cook for young children, double (or more) the quantity if you like things hot.)
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric
- 2 large tomatoes finely chopped
- A small bunch of coriander – chopped
- About 600 – 700 gram of eggplant (you do not need to be exact over or under will be fine)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala*
- Juice of half a small lemon
Prick the eggplants and place on a baking sheet in an oven set to 210 degrees. Cook until the skin collapses when touched. (For a smokier version you can cook the eggplants over a gas flame or BBQ but using the oven works fine and is far less time consuming than cooking them over a gas flame. ) Puree the onion with the garlic and ginger. I find I don’t have to add water when pureeing Australian onions, however if you have a drier variety you may need to add to splash of water into the food processor get a puree.
Heat the oil and fry the onion mixture with the turmeric over a medium heat. Fry until the colour of the mixture deepens and becomes a rich golden colour. Add tomatoes and coriander and chilli. Cook until the tomatoes collapse and merge with the onion mixture to become a sauce. Add the eggplant. Season with salt. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add garam masala and lemon juice. Garnish with additional coriander. Serve
*To make Garam Masala:
I like my garam masala with a bit of cumin and coriander in it – I find it easier to use than the stronger versions which tend to omit these ingredients (and are a lot heavier on the black pepper). You can choose to omit the cumin and coriander from this recipe if you prefer.
- 1 tblspn cumin seeds.
- 1 tblspn coriander seeds
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 tspn cloves
- ¼ of a whole nutmeg grated
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon seed from green cardamom pods
- 1 tspn black peppercorns
Heat a frypan on the top of the stove and add all the spices except the nutmeg and cloves. Dry fry the spices until fragrant. Allow them to cool. Grind all spices together in a spice grinder.
This mixture will keep its flavour for about 3 months (although the fresher the better).