Nightshade Curry

Here’s a simple curry I made last week with veggies languishing in the fridge, waiting their due. One thing that’s been great about following South Asian recipes by-the-book is that it’s given me confidence in spicing my own creations without reference.

1 eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup puréed tomato (I puréed chopped canned ones)
1 onion, sliced into half-circles
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin (or toasted & ground seeds)
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 cup plain yogurt

Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and chop into 1/2″ thick half-rounds. Dust with salt and set aside in a bowl. Core the pepper, remove the spongy membrane, and slice the flesh into matchsticks.

Heat a grill pan. Grill the eggplant slices until they’re marked on both sides, then set aside. While you do this, heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions and garlic over a medium flame. Stir in the spices. Add the whole tomatoes, lower heat, and cover. Monitor the pan so things don’t burn. In about 5 minutes, the tomatoes will be plump and soft: pop them with the back of a spoon.

Add the grilled eggplant, pepper, and puréed tomato and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the yogurt and let simmer 5 more minutes or until the vegetables are desiccated and tender.

Serve hot with rice or pan-fried chapatis and lemonade.

Serves 2-4

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