When I stop and think about it, it seems as though 2012 was hardly here. One minute I was just plain cooking and writing, the next I was plunged into parental illness, and bobbing back there in the rear view mirror was the Mayan Calendar End of the World As We Know It. I feel like I have to add that last part since the planet is still whirling and maybe we just don't know enough yet. So there's that.
I spent most of last month sick with some sort of bug that's still left me with croaky vocals and I've now emerged from a haze of antibiotics, cough lozenges and desserts (can't forget those) into 2013. It seemed only right that I get back to some healthy Indian vegetarian cooking in order to start the New Year off right. Yes, my pants guilted me into it. I wanted to make something simple for lunch that didn't involve sugar or chocolate. I was also eager to try my new toy.
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a company named GitaDini.
GitaDini makes housewares based on traditional Indian kitchenware and gives them a contemporary tweak. They asked if they could send me a couple of their items to try in my home kitchen and I was intrigued. One of the things they sent me was a Yin Yang spice box, or as they're called Masala Dabba. The box fits together in a nice snug pattern that nestles next to wherever you need it.
And once you open it, there's all the spices you need right at your fingertips in cute little stainless steel containers.
I've always wanted one of these but have never bought one because, well what else do I have an incredibly messy pantry for? God forbid I should ever get organized, 'cause what's more fun than being in the middle of a big cook and shrieking "Where the hell's the damn coriander seed?!!" while spilling a bottle of peppercorns all over the floor and racing the dog to pick them up. Using the spice box however, nice and easy and nobody gets hurt. See?
So, I busted out the YinYang box and set out to make the first healthy dish post Mayan Calendar.
Kerala Style Coconut Eggplant
Here's What You Need:
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 Tbs of grated unsweetened dried or fresh coconut
2 dried red chili peppers
1 green serrano chili seeded and chopped
1 large shallot chopped
One medium onion peeled and choped
2 tsps ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp of garam masala for garnish
1/2 tsp of turmeric
4 thin slices of peeled fresh ginger
3 Tbs vegetable oil (I usually use coconut)
salt to taste
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint
Here's What To Do:
Cut an eggplant into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
In a food processor or blender grind the green chili, red chilies, ginger, onion, shallot and grated coconut into a paste.
Add in the turmeric, coriander and 1 tsp of garam masala.
Heat the vegetable oil in a kadhai or skillet.
When the oil is hot, toss in the onion coconut paste.
Cook for about 4 minutes or so.
Add in the c
oconut milk, salt and the eggplant pieces. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat down, put a lid on things and cook for about 25 minutes or so.
Check it every now and then and give things a stir to make sure nothing is sticking or burning.
Add in the lemon juice, cilantro, mint, and cook everything for another couple of minutes.
Put the eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of garam masala.
Serve it up. The ear flaps hat is because our house gets really cold this time of year and in the interest of energy saving, we like to bundle up rather than turn on the heat if we possibly can. Also I was having a classically bad hair day.
This recipe will serve about 4 people as a side dish. Probably you can stretch it a bit further if you run it through the woodchipper.
I want to thanks the nice people at GitaDini for sharing their wonderful Yin Yang spice box with me. If you don't want to use it for Indian cooking it makes a great stash box for nuts, candies, or whatever you've got floating loose around your kitchen.
Coming up next, an easier and lighter version of an Indian sweet, because after you've eaten your vegetables what could be better? Also I give the Rotito from GitaDini a test run. What pray tell is a Rotito? Well, stick around and find out. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori