Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts

Friday, May 28, 2010

Eggplant in spicy ginger-garlic sauce

Do you like eggplant? I know there are either 'haters' or 'lovers' in each of us when it comes to eggplant. I love eggplant. My eggplant fascination goes a long, long way. Back when I was a kid, I used to wait eagerly for my granny to make her Vangibath recipe. Nothing, nothing can pull me away from tamarind and other sour food. I love tamarind and could possibly eat it by itself. Okay, I have done that too. But then, I digress.

Actually not. That is the major reason why I love Chinese cuisine. Or, at least the Indo-Chinese food. Its sweet, sour and spicy - all at the same time. However, for all my eggplant fascination, I'm no fan of soggy eggplant in a Chinese sauce. A is. He loves all kinds of vegetables and anything Chinese. So, every single time we go to a Chinese restaurant, he is always wanting to try this dish and I keep avoiding it. Thanks to me being the dominant one in the relationship (I needn't have specified that now, right?), we've escaped the eggplant dish so far.

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That said, beggars can't be choosers. Especially, when you beg your husband to cook fantastic food when its your turn to indulge him. How much A loves cooking is actually an understatement on this blog now. And in my life too. I take it for granted every evening that A will come up with something. This is one of those dishes that I couldn't him stop him from making. I agreed on a sulky note to just make do with the gravy and tofu in the dish.

Well, what do you expect, ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong. Yet again. This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes now. I can't claim that all eggplant haters will love this dish, but surely, do try it and let us know how you liked it! Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, cut into 1 to 1.5" chunks
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup tofu, cubed and fried with minimal oil until crisp on both sides
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 scallion, bulb and green part separated
3-4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp molasses (optional)
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp canned tomato sauce or puree
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
salt and cayenne pepper powder to taste
1-2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/3-1/2 cups water.
1 tbsp sesame seeds

1. Get started on the sauce. Take 1-2 tsp sesame oil when hot, add sesame seeds, garlic and ginger. When the garlic starts to turn brown, add the tomato sauce. When is almost cooked, add the molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce, cayenne pepper powder, salt, both vinegars and water. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let things simmer for 10-15 mins. Add the tofu at the 5 minute mark so that it absorbs all the flavors.

2. While the sauce simmers, in a separate pan, fry the eggplant on medium heat until tender but not mushy. Add some salt and red pepper flakes to it while its cooking. Keep it separate.

3. In the same pan, fry the onions with some oil, salt and red pepper flakes.

4. Add the eggplant and pour the sauce on top. Cook until the eggplants almost turn soft, about 5-6 mins. This will also let the flavors to absorb further.

5. Top with chopped greens from the scallion.

Enjoy it hot with rice!

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It has this nuttiness thanks to the sesame seeds and the crisp tofu works great against the soft eggplant. I'm sure this'd go great with whole wheat noodles or rice vermicelli too! We had it with hot steaming rice and ate it with our hands :D I think, for meals like this, eating with hands wins hands down (pun unintended!) as against with a fork!

What do you think?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eggplant Caponata

While A sat waiting for me outside the doctor's office flipping through various 'health' magazines, he watched this recipe on a Mario Batali show on Food Network. He, very obviously, ditched the magazine and concentrated on the show. We came back from the hospital and A immediately went and bought an eggplant. In true bourgeois homes style, he left for work asking me to prepare the Eggplant Caponata as shown by Batali, one of A's favourite chefs. While I am an eggplant afficionado, I saw that this recipe consisted of tomato and thought it will be like another Baingan-wali sabzi ;) But, boy, oh boy! Was I surprised or what! This recipe is a winner (inspite of the horrible pics!) and came out perfectly delicious and it is a regular now.

Without any further ado, this is the recipe. Here it is for your convenience (Thanks Nags!)

  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped in 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 sprigs mint, chopped

1. In a large 12 to 14-inch saute pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until softened.

2. Add the eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add the thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil.

3. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, garnish with mint and chili flakes. Serve the caponata spooned on crostini or in middle of table with crostini on side to allow guests to help themselves.

Basic tomato sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt

The changes I made to the recipe, apart making it for 2 people? Here you go:

1. More cocoa :P

2. Less tomato/tomato sauce and store-bought

3. Regular white vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar.

4. Used a regular white onion and not a Spanish onion

We ate it with some home-made bread, the recipe of which I may post later.

I thought this could very well serve as a great pasta sauce if thinned out with some more tomatoes or make it more liquidy with a little stock or pasta's starchy water. We initialy wanted to make a bruschetta of this and so the thick consistency! This is not an exotic recipe for all the hype in the name. Do try and let us know how it turned out!