Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eggplant Tomato Curry

When domestic eggplants finally come into season and I can get them at the store for less than three bucks a pound, a kind of eggplant mania sets in.

This is really the same as my mania for asparagus, tomatoes, avocados, summer squashes, winter squashes...

I have always been curious about using the pressure cooker to make curries, because I have watched numerous videos and read numerous blog posts and articles, but have had little direct experience.

A recipe for eggplant and tomato curry caught my eye, and, since I had two big beautiful globe eggplants and a ripe red tomato, I figured I would go for it. It turns out to be very easy.

So, I prepped:

  • two hefty globe eggplants, peeled and cubed
  • one fist-sized tomato, sliced
  • a couple inches of ginger, grated
  • four to six cloves of garlic, mashed
  • half an onion, diced
  • two ounces of tomato paste, or basically whatever's left over from the six-ounce can you opened for something else

I also got some curry spices: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, red chilies, garam masala, salt and black pepper to taste.

Then, the rest of the recipe is pretty standard currying procedure for me:

With a couple tablespoons of neutral oil, fry the whole spices, then the onion, then the garlic and ginger, then the powdered spices.

Then you dump in whatever you're currying and cook it all together. I save the tomato paste to stir in after the vegetables cook. Is this necessary? I'm not sure, that's just how I do it.

The eggplant had to go in two batches, to soften enough in the oil to even close the lid on the pressure cooker. When everything was in the pot, I added about a half-cup of water, closed the lid, brought it up to pressure, and gave it about eight minutes.

The eggplants cooked up all soft and delicious, but it looks like I added just a little too much water out of pressure-cooker-explosion paranoia. Next time, a quarter cup. I stirred in the tomato paste and let it simmer with the lid off for a couple of minutes.

I plated this with some saffron basmati and a fistful of freshly chopped cilantro and mint.

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