My recent adoption of a policy of minimalism with respect to stocking my refrigerator with vegetables makes for some interesting situations and some creative solutions. The idea behind sparingly stocking my veggie tray is to avoid any spoilage of vegetables which in turn helps in avoiding wastage of it. Since I am trying to avoid buying veggies until the ones in my tray are all complete, one day I found myself staring at a few small eggplants, the only vegetables left and a complete lack of ideas as to what I would be able to make with it. My pantry, as usual provided some potatoes and sweet potatoes, my favorite fall back plan in case I run out of ideas. In this case I was leaning towards making something with potatoes when I happened to come across this recipe on Indosungod's site Daily Musings. The recipe intrigued me quite a bit and I decided to try this recipe immediately.
I tweaked the recipe a little, used tamarind juice instead of amchur powder to provide a mild tartness, scaled down the turmeric powder and changed the proportions of the vegetables a little.I also added a little sugar to bring out a contrast in the flavors of this curry. The curry turned out wonderfully with some really bold flavors and it was the perfect accompaniment for rotis. This is one of those curries that would have worked just as well served over a bed of plain steamed rice too.
Ingredients and Method to make Eggplant potato curry
2 1/2 cups of small eggplant cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups of potato peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 1/2 tsp sugar
salt according to taste (approximately about 1 1/4 tsp)
gooseberry sized piece of tamarind soaked in 3/4 cup of water
handful cilantro/ coriander leaves for garnish (optional) ( cut very fine)
2 tsp oil
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup raw or roasted peanuts
3/4 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 red chillies ( or according to taste)
Dry roast each of the items mentioned in the spice blend until it turns a little reddish and keep aside. Skip this step for peanuts if you are using roasted peanuts instead of raw peanuts.
Cool this spice blend to room temperature and dry grind in a spice grinder until it turns into a fine powder.
Soak tamarind in 3/4 cup of water for about 15 to 20 minutes. To shorten the soaking time, just place the water with tamarind in the microwave and place on high heat for about 10 seconds. This makes the water just warm and makes it easy to extract the tamarind juice. Press the tamarind with thumb and fingers to extract juice from it. Strain the juice and remove the tamarind pulp and seeds. Repeat this step again to remove the entire tamarind juice.
In a heavy bottomed pan heat oil. Add cumin seeds to it, and when the cumin seeds splutter add the asafoetida and turmeric powder to it. Mix once or twice, then add tamarind juice to it. To the tamarind juice add potatoes and cut eggplants.
Let the tamarind juice boil for a little while about 5 to 10 minutes until the potatoes and eggplants are cooked but not mushy.
Add the ground spice blend to this and adjust salt to taste and add water to achieve required conistency.
Let the entire mixture simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to blend.
Garnish with cut cilantro and serve hot with rotis/ or plain rice.
Serves approximately about 3-4