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Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL) promotes local food knowledge, production and market opportunities for farmers and community members throughout our region.

Eggplant Curry

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Eggplant Curry

Steve Peters

cubed eggplant

italian eggplant Eggplant is one of those foods, like summer squash, I often hear people say they don't like. And, as usual, I tell them that they just haven't had it prepared well. On it's own, without any seasoning, eggplant can indeed be a little tasteless and bitter. But that's exactly why we need to know how to handle and prepare this nightshade veggie for maximum flavor and health benefits - like the ton of fiber and manganese it contains. And, when done well, eggplant can rival the taste and texture of chicken - making it a vegetarian favorite. 

I recommend peeling your eggplant, especially if it is a larger variety like Black Magic - the most common kind you'll find in the United States, pictured at left in the first photo above - and especially if it is not at it's peak freshness.

It's often said you should salt eggplant and let it sit for 30 minutes or so in order for the water, and bitterness, to be released. I say go for it - if you have the time and have planned ahead. I often don't. Having tried it both ways, I can't say I see a significant difference in the end, especially in a dish like this.

chopped eggplant

Note: Since I had quite a few eggplants to get through when I took these photos, you'll notice they did start to brown. But I wasn't worried because they cooked in the curry sauce and no one ever noticed. 

IMG_4002

Start with some garlic. Brown it just slightly in a medium sized pan with some olive oil for a couple of minutes. Then add in the eggplant and a few pinches of salt. You want to cook the eggplant, stirring often, until it starts to release some liquid, 5-10 minutes.

coconut milk

Next, in goes the curry powder, ginger and coconut milk. I'm a big fan of coconut milk sold in cartons like this. I use it for everything from plain drinking to smoothies to cooking. However, when coconut milk is called for in a recipe, it's probably referring to the heavier, richer kind you'll find in cans. I recommend keeping a few of these cans, found in the international section of your grocery store, on hand at all times. They're shelf stable. The cartons are not. But the carton works for a lighter flavor, and if you'll use it up like regular milk. eggplant curry

Keep simmering the eggplant for a good 25 minutes or more. Taste it as you go and see how it's tasting. You'll know it's done cooking when it melts in your mouth. Adjust the seasoning as needed and throw in the remaining garlic just before finishing. And it's good to go!

Want to add peppers? Onions? Or other veggies? Feel free to add them in when you add the eggplant. I kind of like the simplicity of the eggplant though.

eggplant curry

Serve over your grain of choice.

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