What should you do with eggplant? MAKE THIS DISH. The same question popped into my head when I was grabbing this deep purple aubergine from the farmers market. I didn’t know what I was going to make, but I knew this little baby was going home with me. Although baked eggplant is one of my favorites, I don’t really like the thought of heating my oven (and so my apartment) for at least 40 minutes to an hour, especially during these warmer months. So I sliced this sucker, threw it on the grill pan with a little olive oil and salt (Isnt this how all great dishes begin?). I browned both sides, threw in some curry powder, a can of coconut milk, and let this simmer for a bit. To be honest, I forgot about it.
After 15-20 minutes I realized the stovetop was still on and ran over to check on my eggplant– they were nearly falling apart and my eggplant rounds were unrecognizable. I scrapped this soupy concoction out of the pan and into a bowl and decided to just go with it. Maybe this could be like Indian Baba-ganoush? I added shredded coconut to give it some more texture and toasted some cashews to put on the side.
The result– perfection. This little eggplant turned into this soft succulent, creamy yummy deliciousness. I love experimenting in the kitchen.. sometimes it works out great, sometimes no as I’d hoped, and sometimes I discover my favorite dishes. This is now one of them. I’m still not sure of the best way to eat it (I just gobbled it up plain before I could even think of what to eat with it), but I know it would go insanely well with the homemade paneer recipe Lauren just posted. So experiment, and hopefully you will find this recipe as yummy as I do. Happy cooking!
Coconut curry eggplant with roasted cashews
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 can (14 fl oz) coconut milk or light coconut milk
- 3 tsp curry powder (or a mix of cumin, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and saffron)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut*
- Whole unsalted raw cashews
- Optional garnish: mint, lime
- Cut eggplant into rounds, 1/2 inch thick. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on med/high heat and add eggplant to pan. Brown both sides, about 3 minutes each.
- Add coconut milk, curry powder and stir. Cover, lower heat to med/low, and simmer 15-20 minutes until very soft and falling apart. Tranfser to bowl. Stir and break up chunks with a fork then let cool.
- Toast cashews on a small saute pan. Keep an eye on it and stir/shake every minute or two.
- Add shredded coconut to eggplant and stir until combined. Serve with toasted cashews on top, a few mint sprigs, and lemon or lime on the side.
*you can use unsweetened or sweetened coconut, depending on your taste or what you are serving it with. I used trader joe’s sweetened coconut and it was delicious!
I think this dish is perfectly balanced with the spice from the curry powder and pepper, the sweetness of the coconut, and the tartness of the lime and mint leaves. The nuts also lend a nice buttery flavor and toasty smell. So eat up!