Eggplant Curry w/ Tamarind & Mint
Curry Night, as we call it, is usually a pretty big deal in our house. It means both of us in the kitchen bumping into each other cooking up a storm, the house full of spices and chilli in the air.
It was a wonderful friend with a rich Sri Lankan heritage that introduced us to the awesome world of authentic style curries. Always when we get together it means a kitchen full of people and spices; just the way cooking, food and company should be enjoyed.
When we visited the city recently I got a chance to shop at an Asian Grocer and managed to pick up a block of tamarind, YUM! As a kid we use to eat tamarinds straight from the tree; so tart and rich, we loved them. So finding myself with a block of tamarind I really wanted to make a curry and got inspired by a recipe I saw in Cuisine magazine that used eggplant, tamarind and mint.
I altered the recipe somewhat but still with the fresh mint and tamarind making the dish really light and zesty; with a little heat from the chilli and some warmth from the spices. I made tamarind paste from the block which is what I used here. You can buy the paste from Asian grocers or follow the directions here to make your own paste.
Preparation time: 40mins
- 1 large eggplant (aubergine)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander (cilantro) seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp black pepper corns
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp rock salt
- 2 tbs ghee or peanut oil
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 1 red chilli, diced
- ¾ cup crushed tomato, fresh or bottled
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbs tamarind paste
- 2 tbs fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- ¼ sultanas (raisins)
- steamed basmati rice
Preheat the oven to 200°C (410°F)
Prick the eggplant with a fork a couple of times and place on non-stick baking tray and then into the heated oven.
Bake for 20 minutes until the skin has wrinkled and the eggplant is soft to touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Grind the spices to form a dry paste.
Heat the oil in a large heavy based fry pan; add the ground spices and cook until fragrant, add the garlic and chilli, cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and water and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile chop the cooled eggplant into 1-2cm cubes.
Add the eggplant to the sauce, season with tamarind paste (to taste), reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add the fresh mint just before serving and stir through.
Place the coconut and sultanas on a baking tray and roast under a medium grill for 1-2 minutes until golden.
Serve the curry with steamed basmati rice, topped with coconut and sultanas. Mmmmmmmmmmm