"This isn't one of your typical recipes," Mike told me as we sat down to a dinner of curried eggplant over rice. "There isn't any garlic in it."
It's true: I gravitate towards dishes with a Mediterranean flavor profile. My go-to starch is pasta, my favorite kitchen gadget is my garlic press, and we buy olive oil in 1.5 liter jugs. We make some dishes that are Asian inspired (Coconut Curry Tofu, Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce, and Thai Tofu Noodle Soup) or that have Mexican influences (Huevos Rancheros Burritos and Tofu Steaks with Jalapeno Vinaigrette), but we always circle back to linguine. I love to try new recipes, but I tend towards those with familiar flavors. It's much harder for me to conceptualize what an Indian dish will taste like, or what herbs besides basil, dill, and rosemary will add. The only way for me to gain broader confidence is to work with new ingredients and flavors, venturing beyond familiar culinary territory. This recipe was a modest start--it still includes olive oil, basil, and tomatoes, but the curry powder and sour cream take it in a completely different direction. The eggplant acts like a sponge, soaking up flavors to transform itself into the delectable centerpiece of the dish instead of a bland vegetable side note.
Adapted from the Real Simple recipe by Sara Quessenberry
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- small eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 small tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup sour cream
Prepare rice according to package directions.
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about five minutes. Add eggplant, tomatoes, curry powder, salt, and pepper and stir thoroughly to coat eggplant with seasonings. Add one cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to high and stir in chickpeas. Cook until chickpeas are warm, about three minutes.
Serve eggplant mixture over prepared rice. Garnish with basil and sour cream.