Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vegan Eggplant Curry

This dish represents clean-cooking and bold flavours at their best. I don't have a recipe for this one, as it's more of a "use anything in the fridge," kind of curry. However, the general steps are listed below. *Note: this isn't an "authentic" Indian curry; rather, more of a spiced vegetable stew. The way I see it... we can get dogmatic about what qualifies as a certain dish, OR just enjoy the health benefits of beautiful local produce and healing spices. My tools of choice were a large dutch-oven cooker - a fantastic stove to oven investment - and a big wooden spoon.

1. Browning 1st layer of vegetables:
Melt 2 tbs of coconut oil in a large pot of dutch oven. Cook a large onion, a few cloves of garlic, a thumb of grated ginger, finely chopped carrots and celery, and a little chopped chili pepper (de-seeded, as personal preference)  until they are soft and translucent.

2. Adding 2nd layer of vegetables: 
Add in whatever vegetables you care for, in an order that will optimize their cooking time. Ie: I added  the eggplant and sweet potato first and gave them a 15 min head-start, then added the quicker vegetables, like bell pepper and zucchini.

3. Toasting spices: 
Add in a tbs or two of curry powder, garahm masala, turmeric, dried ginger, cinnamon, etc., and stir to coat the oily vegetables. This will dry the mixture out and wake-up the spices. Keep stiring for a minute to avoid burning.

3. Adding liquid: 
Pour in some diced or pureed tomatoes (about 2-3 cups) and water, until just covering the vegetables. Bring to a boil and use the heat to scrape the sticky bits off the bottom of the pot. Pop a lid on everything and let the flavours mingle for 15 minutes. (If this was real curry, you'd wait a lot longer). At this stage, I added in some pre-cooked rice and lentils to increase the nutritional profile and add a complete protein.

4. Finishing touches: 
Season with salt and pepper. If you want to make this into a creamy curry, stir in half a can of coconut milk and simmer a few minutes longer. Stir in some fresh chopped parsley, cilantro, or green onions. Add a little more fresh or dried chili if that's what you're feeling. Serve.

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