For the first time ever, my garden is overflowing with eggplant! Sure, it’s also overflowing with weeds and a LOT of green beans that never got picked but despite that I am pretty excited about the eggplant. I’ve gardened at our current home for the last five summers and each year I plant eggplant hopefully. When each soft purple blossom appeared I got excited but for four years running those lovely blooms amounted to nothing, just shriveled up and fell off. I’m no expert and don’t know whether this was a pollination, pest, or other issue. Despite a pitiful historical yield, however, I continued to plant eggplant in the hopes that it would grow to rival the plants of my childhood memories in my parent’s garden. This year I planted three plants: two of an “italian type” and another that I can’t remember. Honestly, this year its a wonder I planted a garden at all so keeping track of varieties was not a priority. At any rate, all three plants were covered in those pretty purple flowers and I was hopeful that this year I’d get enough to make just one dish of eggplant parmesan to freeze and enjoy when my third baby is born this fall. Much to my surprise, two of the plants yielded three fruits each, and the other has four! That’s TEN eggplants, folks!! So now, I am scurrying to find ways to enjoy these purple-black beauties because you just never know- it could be four more years until I have this kind of eggplant success again.
I enjoyed this dish at a friend’s house several years ago and have had the recipe in my recipe box since. I’m not sure where it came from, but it is certainly tasty and also uses up other garden items I happen to have (garlic, tomatoes and cilantro). Fresh ginger is essential!
RECIPE: EGGPLANT CURRY
- 1-2 medium eggplants, diced (do not peel)
- generous splash of olive oil (3-4 tablespoons)
- 1 onion, white or red, chopped
- 4-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I also threw in a few golden cherry tomatoes just because I had them)
- 1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 large head of fresh garlic, minced or crushed
- 2 teaspoons dried ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste
- handful of fresh chopped cilantro
- Heat oil in a deep skillet/pot/dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion & ginger and cook until onions are translucent (about 8 minutes). Keep heat low enough so that the onions are soft but not blackened at all. Add garlic & dried spices and about half of the cilantro and mix well to coat all the onions. Add the chopped eggplant. Saute and stir 3-5 minutes, until all the eggplant is well coated with the spices and begins to soften on the edges.
- Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer 30-45 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through and the tomatoes have mostly dissolved into the sauce. NOTE: Try to reserve as much juice as you can when chopping the tomatoes and be sure to add the juice with the tomatoes – if your tomatoes are particularly dry, add 1/4-1/2 cup of water with the tomatoes. There should be about 1/4-1/2 inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot after simmering for a few minutes.
Serve over cooked rice, quinoa or another grain of your choice or with flatbread like pita or naan and garnish with the remaining cilantro. This dish is also great with a bit of crumbled feta or goat cheese on top!