SMOKED EGGPLANT CURRY

Smoked Eggplant Curry

What comes to mind when I think of eggplants? Nightshade,my grand mom’s peculiar taste for that color in a sari, the color purple,the yummy goodness of having them stuffed with spices…yes the list is endless .
The eggplant is a very versatile vegetable in that, it plays a very good supporting role in any show when paired with different spicy sauces, letting them be the star of the show. An eggplant can handle anything, you throw its way.One can cook them in various ways- grilled, steamed,stuffed,roasted, burnt, pickled…any which way imaginable.
The eggplant by nature is a soft, spongy,mild vegetable when paired with different sauces brings out the best in them,soaking up anything you pair it with.It has amazing health benefits too in that it regulate blood sugar levels keeping diabetes in control, helps in weight loss,memory function and antibacterial properties.
This morning, it has been raining heavily here, the need for having something spicy smoked was strong,the first thing that came to mind was this recipe of Smoked Eggplant curry paired with rice dumplings for brunch…somehow the pitter patter of the rain felt like petals from the sky smile emoticon It’s a quick & easy recipe,makes a delicious dish to pair with flat bread, rice dumplings or just plain rice.Enjoy.

Ingredients:
Tomatoes- 3
Eggplants/ Brinjal- 5-6 ( medium size)
Cashew nuts- 5-6
Garlic – 3-4 cloves
Fresh ginger- 1″
Garam masala- 1/4 tsp
Chili powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Oil- 2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Lemon juice- 1 tsp (optional)
Charcoal- for smoking the dish

Method:
1.Boil the tomatoes whole in a bowl of water.Strain the water & let it cool.Once cool, blend it fine into a paste, along with the cashew nuts & set aside.
2.Now in a wok add some oil, to this add the clean & cubed eggplant, sauté it lightly for a few minutes till it turns soft, now add the garlic & ginger slices, sauté some more, let the raw smell disappear, then add the chili powder, garam masala powder & turmeric powder, keep stirring the mix well till the flavors are coated on the eggplant.
3.Now add the blended tomato & cashew mix to this eggplant, stir it well, at this point, you may add a little water if you need to liquify, or just keep it like a thick sauce( “gojju”).Keep stirring for a few minutes after adding salt to taste.
4.Remove it from heat & set aside, you may add lime juice at this point if you so desire.
5.Then comes the interesting part, take a few pieces of charcoal, heat it till red hot, place it in a little steel bowl inside the cooked curry & pour a few drops of oil, to let it smoke.Now cover the entire preparation with a lid to trap the smoke, for a few minutes or as long as you want, the smoke would infiltrate the curry & infuse it with its own flavor.Enjoy !

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