Tuesday Night Vego – Eggplant Masala

24 Jan

Like most Tuesday nights this year I’m joining Linda in the Tuesday night vegetarian challenge. To cook seasonal produce (preferably home-grown) to make simple vegetarian meals. Today I harvested 13 lebanese eggplants, without the foggiest idea what to do with them. I looked to Liz’s blog and found her recipe for Eggplant Masala.

I’m not going to reproduce her recipe  – it’s hers – check out her blog- but I’ll describe the process.

Firstly I pricked the skin of the eggplants and roasted in the oven at 210 degrees until the skin collapsed. I think I need to cook them a bit longer, because they held together more that I was expecting later on. If you try out the recipe, perhaps give them longer than you initially think.

I then pureed onion, garlic (home-grown) and ginger in the food processor and fried them off in a pan with oil and turmeric until golden. It started more vibrant and yellow, then changed to a deeper golden colour. I recently bought a new batch of turmeric, and I’ve really noticed the improvement in pungency over the old batch.

Next I added chopped tomatoes, coriander and chilli. I used a bit less chilli and coriander than Liz specifies, because my Mother in Law was here for dinner, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like either.

Next I added the eggplant to the pan. It was then that I realised that it really wasn’t cooked enough, so I added water and increased the heat. Unfortunately this gave only limited success, and eventually I had to pluck the eggplant out of the pan and put it through the food processor before adding it back in.

After I was happy with the texture I added garam masala and lemon juice before serving.

Now I’m not going to diminish the value of the recipe by posting my picture of the finished product. You can see it on Liz’s blog, and you can probably imagine that it doesn’t photograph well in artificial light, particularly after dinner and packaged into lunch containers 🙂

Suffice to say I will make it again. The balance of flavours was really good, and despite the kids’ resistance (I made the rookie error of telling them it contained eggplant) I think they actually didn’t mind it. I made naan bread to go with it, which helped.

Head on over to Linda’s blog to see what she and others are cooking (vegetarian of course) on this Tuesday night. Looks like it was Zucchini macaroni cheese – oh how I wish I didn’t have a dairy allergy in the house!

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10 Responses to “Tuesday Night Vego – Eggplant Masala”

  1. Sarah January 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    The texture of eggplant improves with steaming. Next time, pop them into a container and seal them up as soon as they come out of the oven, and they will soften beautifully. This is also the trick to use if you need to peel them (eg, if you are using larger eggplant and making babaganoush).

    Steamed eggplant has a lovely silky texture, but not much flavour, which is why they are often roasted or grilled as well.

  2. dkmt January 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi L,

    Since you have eggplant I thought I’d share my recipe of fried eggplant with you. You can eat it as a side with curries, or I love to add it, at the last minute to a tomato based vegetarian spaghetti sauce.

    Just cut in slices, 1/2 to 1 cm thick. Coat in lots of salt and let sit for half hour or so. The juice should seep out and get rid of the juice. I think the juice can make it more bitter, and watery, than if you skip this step.

    Rinse, dry and add a little more salt (and turmeric if you’re eating it with curry). Fry in oil (olive if eating with spahetti, or mustard or just canola if eating with curry), fry it until it starts going dark brown – almost burning, but not quite. It takes a long time to warm up, then all of a sudden will go brown.

    Then just enjoy the juicy deliciousness. It really adds some big flavour to the meal.

    Hope that helps. I’m not an expert at egg plant, but I’ve made this one so many times!

    By the way, I may soon be starting a small garden, we’re in the Blue Mts now. What can I plant now, in a small ish planter box, which I can harvest within a few months?

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      Thanks Donna! I’ll give that a go. I actually like eggplant – not sure what people have against it!

      If you are limited in space, I like to plant whatever you use frequently yet still costs a lot. Onions and potatoes would be the obvious, but they take a lot of room.
      Personally, I use a lot of lettuce and green onions (shallots), yet when I buy them they go all sad in the fridge. For that reason they are great to grow, even with limited space. Green onions should be planted from seed, but you can get a head start on lettuce by buying seedlings. ‘Cut and come again’ varieties are great value because you don’t have to wait for them to form a head.

      Other options are radishes (super fast to grow), dwarf beans – really productive, so much better than the supermarket, silverbeet (grows really easily in our climate).

      If you use a lot of herbs, then they are a no-brainer. They cost a fortune yet are easy to grow. I have a self-watering planter box that I keep herbs going in year in, year out. Once they are going, I just buy new potting mix once a year, and they spring back like new. You can see the planter I use here https://500m2.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/if-i-cant-beat-the-weather/ and you’ll just have to trust me that they look fantastic now.

      I’d be very happy to post you a package of seeds to get you started if that would be useful.

  3. Liz January 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    I love that your concession to your Mother-in-laws taste was not to cook a different dish but just reduce quantities slightly – he he he. I usually cook the eggplant until the whole thing collapses – I’ll have to check what I wrote in the recipe. Very glad you liked it enough to cook it again.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      I thought about it, then I realised that she would expect funny food from me anyway. She is a champ though – she gives everything a go.

  4. Kate January 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    I love that we are getting so many different recipes to try from Lindas challenge. Even though we are vegetarian there’s always room for new things. Thanks for sharing your recipe (or Liz’s anyway) Love the sound of the flavours so will give it a go.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

      I’ve been really inspired by Liz’s blog Kate – she has a real knack for Indian vegetarian food and an amazing knowledge of spices. I have no nose for it at all- I hope to continue to learn. She recommended a particular book – Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan which is completely vegetarian. I’m going to order a copy.

  5. Linda Woodrow January 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Sadly eggplant are one of my “difficult” crops. I have wild tobacco in the bush around about, and I think it harbours the flea beetles between summers, but they like eggplants better. I am jealous of the beautiful ones in your first picture! I have some coming on, but I do better with the middle eastern red eggplants, or the Thai pea eggplants. I imagine they’ll work with this recipe though. Love anything with turmeric.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      Well they certainly grow well around here – I’d swap my easy eggplants for your easy tomatoes though 🙂 Do give the recipe a try!

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