Veggin’ Cookbook Challenge: Eggplant Curry

October 03, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-step Recipes is nice cookbook to have around because of the plethora of pictures which include both cooking steps and finished dishes. Sometimes I have no idea what to cook, but if the picture of the finished dish makes me hungry, then I know that’s what I’m going to choose. Although this is an omnivore’s cookbook, many of the recipes are vegetarian so I’ve found it to be a handy go-to cookbook.

This cookbook does a decent job with descriptions and pictures of concepts that may be unknown in American cooking. It simplifies the recipes without losing any of the flavors and it also gives a pretty good introduction to the concepts of Indian cooking (albeit a bit Westernized.)

I couldn’t decide which recipe to try, so I went ahead and chose three out of this cookbook. They will be featured in upcoming posts. But first, I’ll start with the Eggplant Curry.

I don’t know about you, but I have a little difficulty finding dried tamarind. (I looked…I swear!) So, I ended up using some tamarind sauce purchased from an Indian store. I used about 2 Tablespoons of it because really like it’s taste – a sort of vinegary, salty and bitter flavor. Using the sauce also eliminated the first few steps of soaking the tamarind.) To cut down on some of the fat, I used a low fat coconut milk.

Because this dish cooks through simmering, it’s very easy to make. The fresh curry leaves add a brightness to the dish. Curry powder can also be substituted. Saute the spices, throw in the sliced eggplant and coconut milk and you’re good to go. (Oh, and the leftovers are super good!)

Eggplant Curry
Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-step Recipes

1 1/4 oz/40 g dried tamarind, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
2 large eggplants, sliced
salt
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
3 onions, slices
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
4 curry leaves
1 fresh green chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon coriander
2 Tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
generous 2 cups canned coconut milk
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra to garnish (Note: I used chopped fresh parsley.)

(Note: If using tamarind sauce, skip these first steps and head straight to prepping the eggplant.)

Place the dried tamarind in a bowl. the add the boiling water and stir. let soak for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling each layer with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. Cook’s tip: Most contemporary varieties of eggplant no longer need salting to remove the bitter juices. However, doing so stops the vegetable from becoming too soggy.)

(Skip this step if using tamarind sauce.) Strain the tamarind into a bowl, pressing down on the pulp with the back of a wooden spoon.

Discard the contents of the strainer. Rinse the eggplant slices under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat the ghee in a large pan. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden. Stir in the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add the curry leaves, green and red chilies, ground coriander, cumin and mustard seeds, and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the spices give off their aroma.

Add the tamarind liquid and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Add the eggplant slices, then cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.

Uncover the pan and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the chopped cilantro and sprinkle the extra chopped herb on top, then serve immediately.

Crispy Baked Tofu with a Quick Curry Sauce

March 22, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Crispy Baked Tofu with a Quick Curry Sauce
Even before putting the sauce on the crispy tofu I kept popping them in my mouth. The tofu was fabulous on it’s own but was taken to another level once I added the sauce. The sauce is deep in flavor and unique in taste. However…

How many times have you worked your way through a recipe, only to realize whilst eating your creation, you forgot a major ingredient? Well, that’s what happened with this dish. I was munching away, enjoying my dinner when I remembered that I forgot to add the cream to the sauce. As you can see from the pictures, the sauce was thick and chunky rather than smooth and creamy. Never fear. It was darn good. In fact, I’d probably skip the cream sauce next time. Besides, it’s a way to make the dish vegan and cut fat from this dish. But, if you’re looking for a thinner sauce, add the cream.

Crispy Baked Tofu with a Quick Curry Sauce
from 28 Cooks

Marinade

  • 1 pkg. water-packed tofu, drained and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

Coating

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder

Curry Sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup slivered onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (Note: I whipped up a version of my quick tomato sauce* instead.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Note: Reduce this if you’re not using cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (depending on the acidity of your tomatoes)
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley (Note: not in original recipe)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free half and half

In a ziploc bag, combine tofu and the remaining marinade ingredients. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least an hour, although overnight is best. Preheat oven to 350. Combine cornstarch and chili powder in a shallow bowl. Toss tofu cubes, a few at a time, in cornstarch until well coated and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and place in heated oven.

Bake for 45 minutes, flipping at least once, until crispy on the outside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat butter oven medium high heat until melted. Add onions and saute 3-5 minutes, until almost tender. Add garlic, and saute an additional minute or so. Add curry powder, coriander, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and saute for another minute. (Note: I added some freshly cut parsley into my sauce.)

Add tomato sauce and allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes. Add sugar if desired. Simmer for another few minutes, then remove from heat.

Stir in half and half. Toss tofu in sauce and serve over rice.

*Bonus Recipe – Tomato Sauce

  • Every cook should be able to whip up a quick tomato sauce. It’s easier than you think. You really can’t go wrong.
  • Throw a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan and add some diced onions and garlic. Saute until onions are soft and translucent.
  • Dice two tomatoes and throw them into the pan.
  • Add whatever Italian spices and fresh herbs you have on hand to taste – oregano, basil, Italian seasonings, parsley.
  • Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Add at least two tablespoons of tomato paste. More if you want a thicker sauce.
  • Let simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • If you want a smoother sauce either push it through a sieve or puree in your food processor/blender.

Set It and Forget It Vegetarian Slow-cooked Chickpea Curry

February 03, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Fine. I’ll admit it. I’m now a slow cooker convert. How do I know? Well, as I turned the dial on the cooker I said out loud to an empty kitchen, “Set it and forget it!” Somewhere in the world, Ron Pompeil’s ears perked up and he smiled.

There’s minimal prep to this dish – save some chopping of onions followed by a quick saute. Otherwise, you throw all the stuff in the crockpot, mix it all up and 6-8 hours later, you’re left with a spicy dish that’s interesting and delicious. Best of all, you can easily use organic ingredients. Supermarket shelves are now stocked with organic chickpeas and tomatoes. Grab a few cans next time you’re in the store and you’ll be able to whip up this dish any time you want.

Set It and Forget It Vegetarian Slow-cooked Chickpea Curry

by Megabeth

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons salt salt
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 15 oz cans chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 2 12 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

Heat olive oil in saute pan on medium. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook until tender (about 5 minutes)

Add all ingredients, except garam masala, into slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once ready to serve, add garam masala.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini and Curry Soup (Potage de Courgettes au Curry)

July 16, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Culinary Tour de France, Main Dishes, Other

This Culinary Tour de France would not be complete without a great soup. Trust me, I picked the right recipe…this Zucchini and Curry Soup is really good. By using hot curry powder, you can add an extra “zing” to it. I imagine having some of this soup on hand to help me warm up after a cold bike ride in the winter. It also doesn’t have a lot of added fat making it light yet filling.

Zucchini and Curry Soup
(Potage de Courgettes au Curry)
From: The Paris Cookbook

1 large onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half-moons
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder or to taste (I used hot curry powder.)
Fine sea salt to taste
1 quart homemade vegetable stock
4 small zucchini (about 12 ounces total), rinsed and cut into thin rounds

In a stockpot, combine the onions, oil, curry powder, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir to coat the onions.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini and Curry Soup (Potage de Courgettes au Curry)

Cook, covered, over low heat, stirring, until the onions are sft, 3 to 4 minutes.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini and Curry Soup (Potage de Courgettes au Curry)

Add the stock and zucchini and stir to blend.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini and Curry Soup (Potage de Courgettes au Curry)

Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini and Curry Soup (Potage de Courgettes au Curry)

Process the liquid in a blender, food processor, or with a handheld immersion blender until emulsified into a smooth-textured mixture. (The soup may be prepared ahead of time up to this point. Cool and refrigerate.)

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini and Curry Soup (Potage de Courgettes au Curry)

At serving time, reheat the soup, and serve it in warm shallow soup bowls.


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