Indian Curry with Fried Eggplant and Green Beans
Yesterday, I made the passata that can be found one recipe down from this one. Fortunately, I had some leftovers and, rather than freeze it, decided to use it in another recipe. What we have here is a bit more complex, especially if you don’t have the passata ready and want to make it for this dish. If you already have the passata made, the whole thing will be a lot faster. Now, I completely understand that you might not even be interested in making the passata - although I would really urge you to give it a shot. If you don’t want to, you can also purchase passata in the canned tomato and pasta aisle in your grocery store. I can obviously not predict how a store-bought passata will affect the success of the following recipe…. The list of ingredients isn’t overly long, but it’s not the shortest, either. Still, none of the items are difficult to find, making this a viable option. And who knows? Perhaps this dish is just what your picky eater craves? It's also quite beige in appearance - with a hint of red and, if you add the cilantro, spots of bright green! Ingredients:
Curry Paste: 3 shallots, peeled
4 garlic gloves
1 stems of lemongrass (tough outer layer removed, coarsely chopped)
3 chilli peppers (I like Bird’s Eye or Serrano), seeds removed
fresh ginger - amount to roughly equate a 1-inch cube, peeled
½ Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp ground Cumin
1 Tsp ground Koriander
Main Dish: 3 lbs. eggplant
cooking oil (rapeseed or sunflower oils work well)
½ lbs. green beans
1 ½ cups passata (home-made or store-bought)
1 can coconut milk
½ cup unsalted cashews
freshly ground pepper
Other: 1 lime Basmati rice to serve everyone who is going to eat this dish - for me, that’s one cup of cooked rice for each guest. Since my current rice cooker is simply awful, I’ve resorted to using Uncle Ben’s - which takes about ten minutes to prepare. It works well for this dish and saves a bit of effort.
Let’s get started:
Add all the ingredients for the curry paste along with roughly 3 Tbs water to a blender (my little Ninja works wonders for this task!) and pulse until a smooth paste forms. Set aside for now. Cut the ends of the eggplants, halve them lengthwise, and then cut into ½ inch slices. Cut the slices in half as well. Trim the ends of the green beans and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Add about 4 Tbs. of your cooking oil to a large pan and heat to medium-hot temperature. Once the oil is hot, add enough eggplant pieces to cover the bottom of the pan and fry on both sides until they are a lovely golden-brown hue. If the pan seems dry, add a bit more oil. The eggplant can be very absorbent!
Once they have the right color, remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to allow excess oil to drain. Repeat will the remaining eggplant slices. Now put 2 Tbs. of you cooking oil into a large pot, heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add your curry paste. Fry for about two minutes until the paste is fragrant. Add the fried eggplant and stir for another two minutes until the paste covers all eggplant pieces. Now add the passata and the coconut milk. Stir and let the liquid heat through. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for ten minutes. Stir occasionally - if the mixture seems too dry for your liking, add a bit of water. Now add the green beans and stir. Let the ingredients come to a light bubble and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how crunchy or soft you like your green beans. While the beans are getting soft, add the cashews to a small frying pan - without any oil - and toast them on medium heat. Pay attention so that they don’t burn - which tends to happen suddenly and very quickly. Add ½ tsp. Salt (or more, to your liking) to your curry. Add a good pinch of freshly-ground pepper. Stir. Quickly heat up the garlic naan in the oven, a dry pan, or even in the microwave. Chop the cilantro. Serve the curry over rice, sprinkle some fresh cilantro on top, add some toasted cashews to your liking, and provide a slice of fresh lime that can be squeezed on top of it all. Serve the garlic naan on the side!