Eggplant In Curry-Coconut Sauce
- 1/2 cup ghee, recipe follows
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder, recipe follows
- 1 cup unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 8 baby eggplants
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 dried red chile
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Mint leaves, for garnish
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- Curry Powder:
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 dried red chiles, broken in pieces, seeds discarded
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
Heat 1/4 cup of the ghee in a large pot over medium flame, add the onions and sprinkle with the curry powder. Cook and stir for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Add the cashews, shredded coconut, coconut milk, and vegetable broth. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the eggplant.
Cut the eggplant into chunks. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of ghee in a deep skillet or Dutch oven and add the eggplant. Cook and stir until the eggplant gets charred and sticky.
Puree the coconut sauce with a handheld blender, until it's pretty smooth. Pour the sauce over the eggplant and toss in the cinnamon stick and chile. Season with salt, to taste, and simmer for 15 minutes until thick. Give a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavor, garnish with mint leaves, and serve with steamed basmati rice and/or flat bread.Ghee:
Put the butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, swirl the pot around to ensure that it melts slowly and does not sizzle or brown. Increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is covered with foam, stir gently and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Gently simmer, uncovered, and undisturbed for 45 minutes, until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan have turned golden brown and the butter on top is transparent. Strain the ghee through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. The ghee should be perfectly clear and smell nutty; pour into a glass jar and seal tightly.
Yield: 1 1/2 cupsCurry Powder:
Toast the whole spices (coriander, cumin, fennel, cloves, mustard, cardamom and peppercorns) and the chiles in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, shaking the pan often to prevent them from burning. Toast for a couple of minutes until the spices smell fragrant. In a clean coffee grinder, grind the toasted spices together to a fine powder. Add the turmeric and give it another quick buzz to combine. Use the spice blend immediately, or store in a sealed jar for as long as 1 month.
Yield: about 1/2 cup