Tamarind and Garlic Eggplant Fry

This week was not the most delightful as the kitchen arena was rendered out of commission for nearly the entire length of time. As a result of some stupid pest issues, eating healthy became a trying task as we were forced to eat out while trying not to eat expensively all the time. Food is one of those most beloved subjects that nigh on always has a carte blanche; frugality does not trump healthy and fresh nine times out of ten… unless you are really really reaaaaaaaaally trying to keep all spending down.  No we are not exorbitant spenders. Yes we have very legitimate reasons to want to save some moolah. No I will not be discussing that at the moment. All in good time—trust me, good times are just around the corner—but for now, let’s just leave it at my growing irritation of mounting receipts spent on dining out.

But huzzah! Summon the trumpets and adorn the skies with confetti! We can use our wonderful tiny kitchen once more! And to inaugurate that blissful fact, Mr. G himself decided to cook me up a special treat, incorporating three of my supremely favorite ingredients: Tamarind, Garlic, and Eggplant.

He most creatively dubbed it his Tamarind and Garlic Eggplant Curry. Unfortunately he jumped the gun just a smidge, as it turned more into a fry than a smothering, velvety curry. So I’m just going to nudge in “Fry” for a little “Curry” and call it a day. Doesn’t matter–if you follow us on Facebook (which I recommend you do! Lots of extra fun photos and tidbits to be had there!), then you’ll know I was drooling at the aroma filling every nook and cranny of home.

Ingredients

  • 10 hefty garlic cloves
  • 5 small eggplants (round Indian kind/brinjal), chopped
  • Spice mix:

    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp coriander powder
    • ¼ tsp cumin powder
    • Dash of turmeric powder
    • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 2 green chili peppers (small hot variety), sliced
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 pearl onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp tamarind paste, mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt (to taste)

Instructions direct from the husband:

               rinse them eggplants, slice 'em up!sweet roasted garlic

Using a large frying pan, fry garlic in oil until softened and slightly browned. Remove garlic. Add eggplant to same pan (add a little more oil if needed), fry similarly for 6-8 minutes until it appears slightly cooked. Remove, keep aside with garlic.

In the same pan, heat 1 extra tbsp oil and splutter the mustard seeds. Add cilantro, green chilis, and curry leaves. Toss them around some and then add onions. Fry until onions get slightly browned (roughly 10 minutes). Add the tomatoes—fry until tomato cooks completely, disintegrating more or less. At this point add spice mix. Stir and nicely fry it up.

Add eggplant and garlic, mixing the whole shebang until everything has become thoroughly coated. Add some water (starting with ¼ cup) and bring to a simmer. As the husband said at this point, “fry fry fry, cook cook cook. Then add tamarind, fry fry fry, cook cook cook some more. Voila!”

I would simply add that after adding the tamarind, keep heat at a medium-low, cover, and let the entire dish steam up for a few minutes.  Add salt to your preferred level of taste and then “Voila!”.

Garnish with some extra cilantro and serve immediately, preferably with rice according to G.

*My only recommendation/addition with this is to salt the eggplant beforehand, so that water is drawn out and all the unwanted moisture is thusly removed from the eggplant. This will enable it to cook faster and suck in more flavor.


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