Kate’s Punjab Eggplant

As regular readers know, I ran a Blogathon a while back. Loving Local was designed to attract bloggers throughout the state to explore the tastes, the politics, the sights, and the comforts of food produced here in the Bay State. It spanned Massachusetts Farmers Market Week in late August.
One reporter unfamiliar with the term “Blogathon” asked whether as organizer I would have to type on my computer for 24 hours straight. Happily, this was not the case, although it was certainly a busy week.
My job was to keep track of and list the different internet essays as people posted them on their blogs. I also encouraged contributors to keep on writing and answered questions via the Blogathon’s Facebook page.
In addition, I posted a couple of brief recipes on my own blog. I would have written more, but I barely had time to cook!
Of course, along the way I found lots of new writers to follow and lots of fun new recipes to try. Here is one of those recipes, courtesy of Kate Carcio of Village Veggies.
Kate lives smack in the middle of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, where she and her husband have transformed what used to be a front yard into a huge garden. She began blogging last year. At Village Veggies she shares her adventures, some of her recipes, and the tally of how much food she has put up so far this year. (It’s impressive!)
Kate contributed a local chocolate-chip cookie recipe to the Blogathon, which I will try in the winter, but this recipe really stole my heart because I’m a big fan of both eggplant and Indian spices.
Here is her recipe without a lot of change. (You can see her original post here!) I did mess with it a bit when I made it, using regular salt instead of garlic salt (because that’s what I had), and adding a few different spices as well as a sprinkling of lemon juice at the end. And I only made a half recipe (using three teeny tiny eggplants) since I wasn’t feeding a crowd. I didn’t try the alternate method.

Feel free to adapt the recipe to your taste. Whether you make it your way or as Kate wrote it, it should end up aromatic and satisfying.

The Eggplant
2 medium eggplants
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 large tomato (about 1-1/2 cups chopped)
1 cup rehydrated beans of your choice (Tinky used lentils)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Slice the eggplants and place them, center down, on a greased baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees until the eggplants are soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. When they cool, scrape out the eggplant flesh, mash it, and set it aside, discarding the skin. (You may perform this step a day in advance and refrigerate the mashed flesh until it is needed.)
Alternate method: You may also chop up 1 of the eggplants and placed it in a greased baking dish. Then roast it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes for broiled eggplant. This way the overall dish will be a little chunkier, but you must roast at least 1 of the eggplants in the manner described above to make a good sauce.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until tender, approximately 7 minutes.
Add all the spices except the garam masala and continue to sauté another minute until the vegetables are fragrant.
Add the eggplant flesh, the tomatoes, and 1 cup water. Mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil; then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant and tomatoes have made a thick paste.
Remove the cover, add the beans and the garam masala, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
Serve over rice or with naan—or both! If you have a lot of eggplant, double the recipe and freeze some for a later date. The flavors will be better the longer you wait! 

Serves 6.

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9 Responses to “Kate’s Punjab Eggplant”

  1. Tinky & Kate,

    I like how you add the garam masala right at the end – that’s the authentic way to preserve the flavors. I’ll be looking for eggplants at the farmers market tomorrow! Cheers, Matt the Palate Jack

  2. Flaneur says:

    “Good grief! How cutting edge is Tinky becoming?” was my reaction to the eggplant photo. To me, it looked like a crime scene photo, albeit in honor of Fashion Week, of someone’s feet shod in very elegant Italian leather boots (photographer standing over the corpse’s head, shooting down to the boots and perhaps documenting the murder weapon – death by eggplant? Well, less embarrassing than death by zucchini.) Our experience with eggplant is limited: it was not part of the culinary repertoire we grew up with, and now some of our dinner guests (and a few family members) are allergic to eggplant. To have a tasty recipe for eggplant (and this one looks quite wonderful) is always a good thing to have on hand for those rare eggplant opportunities. Thank you. Eggplants have to be one of the richest, most elegantly colored vegetables in the universe, and if you’ve got to go, mort par l’aubergine isn’t the worst way…

  3. Jack Estes says:

    When I first saw this, I thought about reporting you to the Save the Dolphins Society. Thought maybe the eggplant bit was a ruse. Once I read it, though, I realized you aren’t ruinning some sort of illegal sea critter ring. I confess, though, that I don’t know what the final product is. A dip? A casserole? Something else?

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thanks, Matt. It does make the final spices taste a bit fresher. Flaneur and Jack, I had NO IDEA this recipe looked so sinister! I’m glad you both relented toward the end. Jack, it’s a moist vegetable dish that also has protein (the beans) so you serve it with rice for most of a meal (I’d throw in another fresh veg or a salad). Have fun….

  5. Jean says:

    What measure of dried lentils will make a cup of rehydrated lentils once rehydrated (you have no idea how many times I rewrote that sentence trying to make sense of it). My guess is that a few extra lentils won’t matter, but I would like to know what to start with in the way of dried lentils. And I’m guessing to rehydrate requires cooking, right? The recipe looks absolutely yummy. You got me interested in eggplant with the savory pudding a few weeks ago, so I’m up for any other way of using eggplant, and since Indian is my very favorite ethic food, this will be made very soon.

  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    Great question(s?), Jean. Lentils more or less double during cooking so you should start with about 1/2 cup, although as you noted exact proportions really don’t matter here. I actually cheated and used canned lentils since I was out of dried ones and really didn’t need a lot. If you want to cook them yourself, rinse and sort (there can be little rocks, etc., in them) your 1/2 cup of lentils and put them in 1 cup of cold water (basically, the water/lentil ratio is 2 to 1). Bring them to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until they soften (the timing on this varies because older lentils take much longer to cook; the whole thing can vary from 15 minutes to more than 60–if the latter, you’ll have to add more water!). Add any salt and spices you like after cooking. If you’re going to the trouble to do this, I’d make more than 1 cup. I’m very fond of lentils all by themselves……

  7. Kate says:

    Tinky your Punjab looks incredible! I am definitely going to try out the lemon juice at the end too. I can’t believe this is the same recipe I made based on your pictures! lol Right now in our garden we have a ton of late season eggplants (thanks to the weather) so you have motivated me to make this one more time before the cold weather sets in! Thanks again!

  8. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thank YOU, Kate, for the inspiration! I know; it is amazing how everyone’s kitchen can make dishes look slightly different. I presume your version tasted just as yummy as mine….

  9. This is definitely one for a cold winter day. To continue our culinary differences …. we call eggplant aubergine, and cilantro is coriander!!

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