It's been very busy around here which is why I've had a bit of time between posts. It's not that I haven't been cooking, I have been. It's more like what I've been cooking. What's been coming out of the kitchen lately is a lot of vegan and gluten free food. I've been working with my friends at CocoaPlanet who are opening their chocolate factory and Cafe here in Sonoma. I've been hired to help design the menu at the cafe which will be ALL Gluten Free! There are also going to be vegan and vegetarian offerings along with meat dishes. Besides their delicious chocolates, they'll be serving pizzas, quiches, salads, sandwiches, and of course delightful desserts. If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen some of the things they'll be featuring.
We've also been prepping a second run of The Chaunk, our Indian Spice Kits, which have sold out in the Rancho Gordo Store in the San Francisco Ferry Building, and also at J.James here in Sonoma. We've been getting our Chaunk online store ready also, so we can make them available to everyone. There are a few other projects in the pipeline too, so this has been a pretty busy time for us. On top of that, I finished my chemo today. It's been a long year and a half, a lot of ice hats and spices under the bridge. So, back to Indian Food and writing! What better way to kick off a cold and luckily rainy January here in Sonoma than a hot and spicy, easy to prepare Kerala eggplant dish.
Kerala Style Coconut Eggplant
Here's What You Need:1 eggplant
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 Tbs dried, unsweetened ,shredded coconut
1 dried ,red chili ( I used Chiles de arbol from Rancho Gordo)
2 serrano chilies chopped
4 thin sliced rounds of ginger
1 shallot peeled and chopped
1 onion peeld and finelu chopped
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 Tbs vegetable oil, (I use coconut oil)
salt to taste
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint.
Here's What To Do:
Chop your eggplant into 1 inch pieces.
(Eggplant is a notorious oil sop. To cut down on the amount of oil in the dish, I place the cut up eggplant in the microwave for about 3 or 4 minutes, which softens it and partially cooks it, then I finish it in the pan with the spices. This reduces the amount of time the dish takes to prepare.)
Place the eggplant pieces in a covered microwave dish, and cook them for about 3 or 4 minutes. They will be tender when done. Set them aside.
Pour the coconut milk into a food processor or blender.
Add in the ginger...
...shallot and onion...
...and dried coconut.
Blend everything to a thick paste.
Finally add in the garam masala, coriander,and turmeric.
Blend it again, and set it aside.
Heat the coconut or vegetable oil in a skillet or kadhai.
When the oil is hot pour in the coconut spice paste.
Cook it on medium high heat for about 4 minutes, until it starts to get fragrant and color a bit.
Drain the eggplants of whatever water they've given off while coking in the microwave and add them to the pan.
Add salt to taste. I used about 1 teaspoon.
Cook everything stirring over a high heat for about 4 minutes.
Then turn the heat down, put a lid on the pan and let things simmer for about 10 minutes.
Give it a stir every now and then to make sure nothing is sticking or burning.
When the eggplants are nice and soft and the spice mix cooked through, add in the lemon juice...
...cilantro and mint.
Stir everything together and cook for another minute or two. Check for seasoning, you can add a pinch of garam masala at this point if you wish, and serve it up.
Hot, spicy, and delicious, this makes a great vegetarian/vegan offering for any weekday, or Meatless Monday meal. Pair it with a simple Basmati rice dish or any western entree and you are golden! Coming up next, speaking of Basmati Rice, I got the opportunity to taste some straight out of the Himalayas and have a great way to make plain rice something special. Follow along on Twitter@kathygori http://www.thecolorsofindiancooking.com