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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Roasted eggplants with spring onions

We grew eggplants for the very first time this year -- in a five-gallon bucket! The plant itself is beautiful, with its broad, purple-veined leaves, and we've been amazed at how much our little plant, with only five gallons of soil to sustain its roots, can produce.

an eggplant blossom in July

Here's a dish we recently prepared with the bounty of our modest container garden. It's a variation on a recipe from Best-Ever Curry Cookbook by Mridula Baljekar. I've modified the original version to allow for Asian eggplants. I also substituted olive oil for vegetable oil, yellow mustard seeds for black, and some random kind of hot pepper growing in my backyard for the red chili pepper.

Served over brown jasmine rice, it was delicious and nourishing.

Roasted eggplants with spring onions

Serves 4

Brown jasmine rice
2 large eggplants (or 5 of the small, long Asian variety)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 large bunch spring onions (bigger is actually better in this case), finely sliced
4 oz. button mushrooms, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh red chili (or equivalent amount of any hot pepper you have on hand)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. salt
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few extra sprigs to garnish

*Note: brown jasmine rice takes a while (40-45 minutes) to cook, so you might want to start the rice ahead of the rest of the dish*

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place eggplants on a baking sheet and brush with 2 Tbsp. of the oil. Prick each one with a fork, then roast until soft (about 15 minutes for the small Asian variety; 30-35 minutes for large conventional eggplants).

2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and the mustard seeds in a large skillet for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat (the seeds may start to splutter). Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic, and chili pepper, and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. While the tomatoes are simmering, cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the soft flesh into a bowl. Mash the flesh with a fork.

4. Add the eggplant flesh to the pan with the chopped cilantro. Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve over brown jasmine rice, garnished with cilantro.

2 people are talking about food:

Davene August 27, 2010 5:43 PM  

Can you believe I've never grown eggplant or cooked it? This recipe is tempting me to start. :)

And that curry cookbook? I'm drooling over it. I love curry. So much.

Hannah August 28, 2010 1:58 PM  

That is the most beautiful vegetable I've ever seen.

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