Friday, September 9, 2011

When Eggplant Met Walnuts

   It's been a bit nuts around here lately. We're "in the chute" as I like to say, just about wheels down on our latest project and headed for the barn. Boy howdy that's a lot of metaphors. What the deal is, is we've been working our asses off and it's just about done. Finally.
  The last couple of weeks at our house before turning a script in are usually not weeks when I want to do a lot of fancy cooking. It's generally a time for simple things, family favorites that can be up on their feet and on the table without too much trouble and too much clean up. To add to all that, I'm doing some extra cooking for a couple of very close friends who are dealing with a whole lot of medical issues right now. These medical issues have very specific dietary requirements. Luckily, most of them fit in perfectly with the Indian recipes I cook.
   But the most important thing that I'm looking for are dishes that are easy, fast, and since I'm cooking for a few more people than usual, inexpensive. And another thing is variety and spice. Since my friend is on a strict vegan diet which also temporarily excludes soy, I've been trying to make things "interesting."
   One of the cheapest and tastiest things around right about now is eggplant. Eggplant is filling, meaty and can go a long way when stretched. So, when I saw it on sale at market, I snatched it right up. I've always got to have an eggplant in my fridge. It's a basic.
  Yesterday I was preparing Punjabi turnips with tomatoes and I wanted a dish to balance things out. Eggplant was the answer. But it had to be fast... and easy. An eggplant, main or side dish that could be ready in under an hour with a minimum of fuss. I needed a dish where I didn't have to be at the stove constantly. I needed a dish which would allow me to run down the hall to the office and work for a bit. I didn't want to hold some vegetables' hand all afternoon. I didn't want any needy vegetables. Eggplant with walnuts and sesame seemed to be the answer.

Eggplant With Walnuts

Here's what to do:
 Wash 1 globe shed eggplant. Cut it in half length ways and then in half again and again until the eggplant is in wedges.
 Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle it with 4 Tsp of kosher salt.
 Rub the salt into the eggplant well.
Then leave it to set for about 10 minutes.
 When the time has passed, rinse the eggplant in cold running water, removing all the salt.
You can even see Alan and me in the reflection of the faucet . Hi there!
 Dry off the eggplant.
 In a large skillet heat 4 Tbs of sesame oil.
 When the oil is hot, place the eggplant wedges in the pan, put the lid on and let them roast for about 3 or 4 minutes. Then turn them over and cook them for another 3 or 4 minutes.
You may have to cook the wedges in several rounds.
Place the eggplant on a platter sprinkle them with:
  2 Tbs of chopped walnuts
 1/2 tsp of sesame seeds
 2 tsps of lemon juice
 1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chili or 1/4 tsp of cayenne mixed with 1/4 tsp of paprika
 1/4 tsp of sugar
 Mix everything together well until all the spices are blended in. Scatter 3 Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro over everything and it's done.
   There it is. Simple, fast and easy to put together on a hot, Sonoma, September day. I served this with Turnips with tomato and green beans with peanut. Coming up next, a dal and potato mixture which adds a hit of protein to a vegan diet. And I went hunting for more vegan dessert suggestions from my fellow food writer friends and was not disappointed.
   I'm also putting out there that I am in the market for any sort of vegan or vegan/gluten free dessert for my friend and his wife. I'm strong on the savories but a bit on the weak side when it comes to the sweet stuff. Any suggestions are welcomed. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori  


  1. Love this healthy and easy to make dish.

  2. Well, hello Eggplant! Hello, Walnut! I think they make good friends. Best of luck on your busy days!

  3. This looks fantastic, and the photos are gorgeous.

  4. I agree, the Photos are amazing!

  5. Eggplant is definitely something that should always be in the fridge. I love this quick and delicious dish. It's perfect as part of a veggie meal :-)



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