Monday, August 6, 2012

Eggplant, Heirloom Tomato, and Chickpea Curry

I've been getting eggplants in my CSA box over the past few weeks and trying to figure out new ways to use them. I came across some recipes that used just the flesh of the eggplant in curry dishes (versus dicing it up and including the skin) and I thought this would bring a nice texture and meatiness to a vegetarian curry dish. I also had some heirloom tomatoes and some canned chickpeas on hand, and with some spices you can easily create this dish in a pinch. My favorite thing about these type of Indian-inspired curries is that they are so healthy and leave you feeling great after you eat them. The spices in this curry are also great for you - the turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, and the red chile flakes can help speed up your metabolism.

Eggplant, Heirloom Tomato, and Chickpea Curry
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves 3-4

1 T. ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, or olive oil (use the latter 2 for a vegan option)
1 large eggplant
2 medium or 1 very large heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground turmeric
1 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. dried red chile flakes
Kosher salt
Brown rice, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the top off the eggplant and half lengthwise. On a baking sheet or sheet pan, drizzle a little olive oil in 2 places where you'll put the eggplant halves. Sprinkle some kosher salt on each eggplant half, then place the cut side down on the olive oil spots and rub around to coat. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Heat the ghee or other oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, cumin, turmeric, coriander, chile flakes, and 1/2 t. kosher salt and stir to combine, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or whenever the eggplant is done.

Remove the eggplant from the oven, flip it over with a spatula, then use the spatula or a spoon to spoon the flesh of the eggplant into a small bowl. Mash it slightly with the spatula or spoon, then transfer to the pan with the other vegetables, stir to combine, and simmer for another 3-5 minutes. A nice shortcut for the rice in this recipe is Trader Joe's frozen organic short grain brown rice, which I always have on hand and only takes 3 minutes to reheat. Serve the curry over brown rice or with naan.

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