I mentioned a while back that I am really into eggplant at the moment, so here is another eggplant recipe. This is not a meat dish, but a vegetarian curry. It is filled with a delicious blend of flavors, and the taste is not of a hot, burning curry, but rather of a flavorsome blend of delicious herbs and spices. I learned to blend my own spices for curries back in Johannesburg when I attended an Indian vegetarian cooking course. I have always practiced what I learned then, and to be honest, I really prefer a curry with my own blended spices than a curry I make with just curry powder. So go on, give it a try, and let me know what you think.
Eggplant and Butternut Squash Curry
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion coarsely chopped
2 cubes frozen garlic or 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 large eggplant cut into cubes
1 lb. diced butternut squash (available from certain supermarkets already diced or peel and dice your own)
10 oz. sliced button mushrooms
1 large slicing tomato – coarsely diced
1 packet extra firm tofu
2 tsp. dried coriander
1and1/2 tsp. dried cumin
2 tsp. paprika
3 tsp. strong curry powder
2 – 3 cups water
6 oz. thick creamy canned coconut milk
1 avocado pear diced
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or sautee pan. Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeño peppers. Cook for a minute so that the flavors can diffuse into the oil.
Add the chopped onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until they begin to caramelize.
Add the diced butternut and cook on medium heat, stirring the ingredients from time to time to avoid them sticking to pan or burning
Add the diced eggplant and continue cooking. If the vegetables start to stick to pan, add a 1/2 cup of water and let them cook till the water is fully absorbed.
Add the pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika and curry powder and mix well.
Add the sliced mushrooms and let them cook till they soften. Add a little more salt.
Add the diced tomato and let the vegetables cook a little more.
Cover the vegetables with the water, and let them cook at a low heat.
Cut the tofu into cubes and add to the vegetable mix.
Vegetables should absorb all the flavors and cook till tender, but not too soft that they become mushy.
Add the coconut milk and let it dissolve in the curry, and just before you are ready to serve, fold in the diced avocado pear.
This dish is delicious served with steamed brown or white rice and a chopped Israeli salad. I also sometimes serve a type of raita with Greek yoghurt blended with some salt, cumin, and coriander.