Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Indian Eggplant and Yam Stew

I am super enchanted with Bal's Spice Kitchen.  The book has a good mix of healthy Indian meals and Western dishes given a twist with Indian spices.  This veggie-filled dish is of the former variety, and is really tasty.  Bal suggested serving it for lunch, and I've been trying to make a dish ahead to pack in lunches, so I figured I would give this one a try.  Combining eggplant, yam, and tomatoes with lots of warm spices, this dish is the perfect way to perk me up in my overly air-conditioned office.  I packed it in a container with coconut rice, but if you have access to a toaster oven, it would also be awesome with Trader Joe's frozen naan (one of my all-time favorite convenience foods).  As you're making the dish, it seems like you're adding way too many spices, but have faith that you'll be adding lots of veggies to soak those spices up...the finished dish was very well balanced.  The main change I made to this dish was a longer cooking time -- I wanted to get my onions a little browned, and I like my eggplant very tender.  I also added a little plain yogurt on top before serving.

Indian Eggplant and Yam Stew (adapted from Bal's Spice Kitchen)
Serves 4 as a main dish, or more alongside other dishes

Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T grated or minced ginger
1 T garam masala
1-1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 T cumin seeds
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes (or regular chili flakes for a spicier dish)
14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, well drained
1 large eggplant, cubed (no need to peel)
1 medium-large yam (or sweet potato), peeled and cut into small dice
1 tsp chicken Better than Bouillon (optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Heat a good glug of oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Move the onions to the sides of the pot and add the spices in the middle.  Let toast, stirring, for about 20 seconds.
3. Add the tomatoes, eggplant, yam, and Better than Bouillon and stir well to combine.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is almost falling apart and the yam is tender, about 25 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

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