One of the things Joe & I have been trying to do this winter, is experiment with specific kinds of curries. Like Joe mentioned in his guest post, we’ve made many curries full of whatever ingredients we had on hand and whatever spices we felt like, which are always wonderful, but it’s equally wonderful to recreate a specific cultural dish.
This curry came about when we were doing our weekly grocery shopping and noticed that eggplants were on sale, so we picked one up with a tentative plan to use it in a curry. We didn’t have much of a plan for the lovely eggplant, but it didn’t take long for Joe to find a Punjabi Eggplant with Potatoes recipe in one of our Indian cookbooks. However, the original recipe required a fair bit of tweaking, since it called for 3 eggplants, compared to our single one.
Therefore, I am calling this dish Poor Man’s Punjabi Eggplant, since we bulked up the recipe with extra potatoes and some lentils, both very delicious & affordable ingredients that we had plenty of on hand. If you’re interested in going the route of more eggplant, by all means do! If you want to use all 3 eggplants, skip the lentils and cut the potatoes I call for in half. Either way, I think you’ll be absolutely pleased with your results.
To go with our curry, we steamed some beet greens, and Joe decided to try out another version of naan. We’d already made naan a couple times at this point, and were curious how it would turn out if we made them with some of our much-loved sourdough. I was encouraged in this prospect when I did a google recipe search and found out that we were not the first to try such a thing! The results were great, but Joe decided the recipe needed a bit of tweaking yet, so it’s not ready for posting. (If you do want to enjoy some naan with your curry, check out the “standard” recipe here).
We both loved this curry; I’m sure we’ll be making it again as soon as we can justify buying another eggplant. Maybe at some point we’ll even try a more eggplant-rich version, but for now the poor man’s version is plenty satisfying and delicious for both of us!
Punjabi Eggplant with Potatoes & Lentils (or Poor Man’s Punjabi!)
1 medium eggplant, diced (about 4 cups)
2 large potatoes, diced small (about 4 cups)
1 cup dried lentils, soaked for about 4 hours and cooked
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch matchsticks
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3-4 chilis (we used dried), stems removed and chopped, or sliced lengthwise
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
Olive Oil or Ghee
1 Tbsp salt
fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish (we were unfortunately cilantro-less)
Prepare all veggies and have ready. Heat oil or ghee in a large pot. Add cumin and mustard seeds, stirring until they start to pop. Add the veggies and stir well. Add the chili powder, garam masala and tumeric, sprinkle with water and stir. Cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes. Add lentils, cover and cook until the veggies are tender. Add salt, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice, or with naan.