I've been meaning to post this recipe for weeks. This and other delicious recipes that I've created (from my head, not from a cookbook! I'm always thrilled when that happens!). Things have been rather busy for me and Justin, since we just bought a house. The moving and unpacking took up a lot of time, and now I'm very focused on making the house into a home. (The kitchen was the first room to get unpacked, surprise, surprise.) So, while I've still been cooking every week, I haven't had as much time to post the results. Hopefully this will be the start of more regular posts.
Anyways, Happy February everyone. This is the month when it's still cold and snowy (even in Baltimore, we just got about 6 inches of snow) and everyone starts to get really antsy for Spring. This Eggplant Curry recipe is a tribute to the still-cold weather. The not-too-spicy combination of yummy seasonings, chewy eggplant, and crunchy cashews (my only addition to the recipe) makes me feel cozy inside and helps me to enjoy the last remnants of winter. Served over brown rice, it's a complete meal, although some cool yogurt or fruit on the side would complement it very well.
The recipe comes from The New Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen. The cookbook was a surprise gift from my dear cousin Stephanie. She received a copy for Christmas, and it reminded her of me, so she sent me one too! I was so touched when I opened the surprise package that I hugged the cookbook and said something along the lines of, "I love vegetables!" Laugh if you will, but this vegetarian Moosewood Cookbook is brimming with delicious ways of cooking with vegetables and starring them as the main dish. There are so many amazing spice combinations, veggie medleys, grains, and soups that it's hard to know where to begin. Even better, The New Moosewood Cookbook is done entirely in Mollie's (legible) hand print complete with whimsical drawings and designs. I feel happy when I open it.
Do you have a favorite cookbook that you just love to browse through? Or do you have a faithful standby that you can always count on? Tell me about it! In the meantime, onto the recipe.
Makes about 6 servings
2 cups dry brown rice
4 cups water
2-3 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (I used regular ground cumin, and it worked fine)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I used about 1/2 teaspoon, and it was nice and spicy)
2 medium eggplants (8 inches long with 4-inch diameter at roundest point) cut into 1-inch cubes
water, as needed
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
1/2 - 1 cup roasted cashews
1/2 -1 cup minced cilantro (optional)
1) Cook the rice in a rice cooker, or add water and brown rice to a pot, bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, until all the water is absorbed (try not to check it too early, or it will slow down the process).
2) Heat butter or oil over medium heat in large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add seeds and saute for about 5 minutes until they begin to pop.
3) Add onion, salt, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.
4) Add eggplant. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring from the bottom regularly, until the eggplant is soft. Cover the pan between stirrings. (This is where the water comes in - if the mixture is too dry, add a bit of water.)
5) Steam the peas in a separate pot until they are just tender and bright green. Add to the eggplant mixture. Serve the curry over brown rice topped with cilantro and cashews.