11.18.2007

crispy eggplant w/ curried tomato sauce

(courtesy of omi)

an improvisation with yummy results. one of those "i can't believe it's (almost) vegan!" type deals.
all spices are to taste--if you want a truly curried sauce, use more powder. if you just want to hint at curry, use less.

1 medium eggplant or 2 small eggplants, cut into 1/2" slices
3-4 whole tomatoes, diced (or 1 can whole tomatoes)
1 can tomato sauce (probably 1/2 can if using canned tomatoes)
1 can coconut milk
1 medium or small red onion
1 tbsp fresh ginger root, peeled & diced (use appropriate substitution for powdered)
2-3 cloves garlic
1.5 cups jasmine rice*
egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1/2 cup water)**

olive oil
vegetable oil (optional--for frying i usually use a mix of soybean & olive oil)
kosher salt (optional)***
plain breadcrumbs
curry powder
sage
basil
thyme
bay leaves
salt & pepper
honey or vegan sweetening agent (approx. 1 tsp)


1. dice the onion, ginger, and garlic. season with curry powder, salt, pepper, sage, basil and thyme. set aside.
2. if using fresh tomatoes & tomato sauce, dice the tomatoes and set aside. if using canned tomatoes, you can open the can later.
3. cook rice according to package directions, adding a bay leaf. remove the leaf from the rice before serving.
4. time to fry the eggplant! heat about 1 cup olive and/or vegetable oil (enough to almost cover the eggplant slices) in a pan. the oil should be almost smoking before you add the eggplant.
5. pour the egg wash (or vegan version) into a dish. in a separate dish, pour out some breadcrumbs and stir in salt, pepper, and approx. 2 tsp curry powder. dip the eggplant slices in the wash, then the breadcrumbs. fry the eggplant until it's golden brown, about 3 min on each side. drain using paper towels and set aside.
6. reserve enough oil from eggplant frying to sautee your onion/ginger/garlic mixture (about 2 tbsp).
reheat the oil in the same pan (don't wash it! keep that flavor!) and sautee the mixture until onions are translucent.
7. reduce to medium heat and add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and a bay leaf. bring to a boil.
8. add coconut milk to taste, and adjust seasonings. if there is any bitterness, add honey SPARINGLY until it fades, stirring well after each addition.
reduce heat to simmer and cover. bring to a second boil (about 5-7min).
9. once sauce is boiling, taste again and adjust seasonings as needed. REMOVE THE BAY LEAF!
10. when you like the sauce, puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth.
11. make a bed of the jasmine rice, place several slices of eggplant on top, and pour the sauce over it all. enjoy!!

makes approx. 3-4 servings

*depends on how "indian" you want this to taste. you can probably use plain white or brown rice as well, but nothing tastes like jasmine rice cooked with bay leaves.
**or whatever vegan concoction makes breadcrumbs stick to food. :-)

***some ppl salt eggplant before using it. i find it doesn't matter, but you can try it.
after slicing the eggplant, put it in a colander with a plate underneath. layer the eggplant in the colander, sprinkling each layer with kosher salt. after about 30-60 minutes, the water will come out of the eggplant. pat dry with paper towels, brushing off any excess salt. cook as directed.

1 comment:

sugar rush said...

note: i just made this again and forgot the ginger and it was still good. lol. i think i needed more honey to make up for it, though.

i also didn't do the eggplant, but added spinach to the sauce (after smoothing it out) and served over lentils...yummy!

essentially, the sauce is the key. play with any variations of ingredients you want.