Friday, July 29, 2016

Indian Stuffed Eggplant


I've been craving Indian food lately, and with a large order of local eggplants just in, I thought this would be a perfect time to share one of my favorite Indian preparations. This is a recipe I first learned from an inspiring chef, Thom, from the Millbrook Inn in Waitsfield. He hosted a wonderful Indian cooking class every summer based on his Peace Corps years there, and most of my staple recipes came from those classes. It's been adapted, paired down, then beefed up over the years, but it still reminds me of Thom every time I prepare it.



The variety of spices used in Indian cooking is not only responsible for the complex, satisfying flavors unique to that part of the world, but also the health benefits they impart. Turmeric, a potent antioxidant, helps fight free radicals and inflammation, while cumin, ginger and garlic all aid in digestion and boost the immune system.


You can use this stuffing with a variety of vegetables based on what is in season- tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini all work well.

Indian Stuffed Eggplant
Serves 2-4

Ingredients

1 large eggplant

1-inch slice of ginger
2 garlic cloves
2 tbs. roasted salted peanuts
2 tbs. chickpea flour
1 tbs. unsweetened coconut flakes
1/8 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tbs. cumin
1 tbs. coriander
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. raw sugar
3/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup cilantro
juice of a small slice of lime

2 tbs. coconut oil
1 tsp. mustard seed
1/2- 3/4 cup water

Directions

Cut a large cross into the eggplant, cutting halfway deep, careful not to let cut through completely.

In a food processor, mince garlic and ginger. Add peanuts, chickpea flour and coconut flakes. Pulse to mince. Add red chili flakes though lime juice and continue to pulse, scraping the sides down occasionally, until a crumbly paste forms.

Stuff paste deep into the cross in the eggplant.

Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cover, letting the seeds pop for one minute. Add eggplant, stuffing side up. Pour water into bottom of pan and cover to steam, cooking for 20-30 minutes, checking every ten minutes and adding water if necessary and rotating pan. Eggplant is done when soft all the way through.

Relax. Eat Well.



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