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RECIPE: Eggplant & Tomatoes With Indian Seasonings

Eggplant and tomato dishes have found their way into world cuisines: ratatouille and tian in France; caponata from Sicily; Middle Eastern eggplant, tomato and chickpea casserole; among so many others.

In this recipe, Maya Kaimal, the doyenne of fine prepared Indian foods in the U.S., adds layers of flavor with Indian spices. Slices of fried eggplant are folded into a spicy tomato sauce. Use a nonstick skillet to minimize the amount of oil needed for frying.

You don’t have to wait until tomato season to enjoy this recipe. You can use canned tomatoes, and fresh in the summer. (We use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes in the off season.)

Find more of Maya’s authentic recipes at MayaKaimal.com.

RECIPE: EGGPLANT & TOMATOES WITH INDIAN SPICES

Use a heart-healthy oil (coconut oil, olive oil, Malaysian palm oil) and this is a “good for you” way to eat your veggies. Prep time is 40 minutes.

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 thin Japanese* eggplants cut into ¼-inch rounds (about 4 cups)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water as needed
  •  
    For The Spice Mixture

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ____________________
    *You can substitute a standard Italian eggplant, cut into ¾-inch chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add enough eggplant to cover the pan in a single layer. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more oil as needed for each batch to prevent sticking.

      Eggplant & Tomato Recipe

    Brown Mustard Seeds

    Fennel Seeds
    Top: Eggplant in a spicy tomato sauce. Photo courtesy Maya Kaimal. Center: Brown mustard seeds from Maille. Bottom: Fennel seeds from SilkRoadSpices.ca.

     
    2. WIPE the pan clean. Over medium-high heat, heat the mustard and fennel seeds in 1 tablespoon oil until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt and spice mixture. Continue frying over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes turn orange and pieces break down to form a soft paste, about 5 minutes.

    3. ADD the reserved eggplant and stir very gently to combine with the tomato mixture. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the eggplant is cooked through, adding water in small amounts if the mixture becomes too dry. Taste and add salt as desired.

      




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