sour eggplant curry

spicy sour eggplant curry

Off late, I've been craving everything that tastes sour, especially anything with a citrusy taste or flavor. Cravings are like the insane beast and my relationship with this creature sometimes involves, feeding and nurturing it. I probably unconsciously knew this going in when I picked up these gorgeous baby eggplants that I would indulge in a session of souring things up with the hope that it would entail future moments where I would slurp sour spicy goodness from a big bowl while sitting outside in the sun.

baby eggplants

So I spent my morning with my precious wok, sautéing onions and ginger in hot coconut oil flavored with the heat of dried whole red chilies and fragrant cumin. Then came those cherubic eggplants that sizzled and sputtered as soon as their dark purple skins met the heat of the pan. Finally, I stirred in the coconut milk and lime juice and once the yellow broth came together, I inhaled the scent of the fresh lime juice and knew it was all worth it in the end.

eggplants
hot spicy sour eggplant curry

This sour curry should be served hot with rice or bread or eaten directly. 

sour eggplant curry

sour eggplant curry

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1lb baby eggplants
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoon coconut oil
4 dried red chili peppers, whole (I used Kashmiri chili peppers)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups red onion thinly sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 inch ginger root, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 can/13.66 fluid ounces/403mL light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
fresh mint leaves to garnish

1. Cut the eggplants crosswise from the bottom but leave the stems attached. Immerse the eggplants in a bowl containing cold water and vinegar to prevent blackening. Keep aside until ready to use
2. Heat the coconut oil in a large wok or saucepan with a lid on medium high for about 30 seconds. Add the chili and cumin to the wok and cook for 15 seconds. Immediately add the onions, turmeric powder and ginger root, stir occasionally and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. At this point, drain the eggplants and add them to the wok, sauté on medium high for about 3 minutes, stir occasionally. The eggplants should have their skins slightly seared.
3. Add the coconut milk, water and salt. Bring the contents to a boil on a medium high flame and the reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes or until the eggplants are tender enough that a fork can easily pass through the flesh. Once the eggplant is cooked, fold in the fresh lemon juice. Cook for another minute and remove from the stove. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve hot with rice or flat bread.

easy south indian chicken curry

south indian chicken curry and paratha

A while back, I shared a Goan chicken curry recipe with you this time I have another curry recipe that I am very fond of, you will notice some similar and some new ingredients that make this chicken dish so different from the previous. Curries are fascinating because there are so many different varieties based on geography and within those there are even more variations based on the differences in the amount of spices and ingredients that different households use.

cloves

Making curry at home is akin to the way in which people prepare chili, you improve your recipe with time, add or leave out ingredients to suit your taste buds, make mental notes on what you would do different the next time. Over time, I've simplified the recipe and streamlined some of the prep work to make it easier for me to cook this on a weekday, if my cravings are going to get the better of me. I've also lightened the recipe quite a bit by cutting back on the unnecessary fat without compromising on the taste and quality of this delicious curry.

turmeric jar

Whenever, I cook chicken, I prefer to use chicken that's still attached to the bone and I trim off any visible fat and skin. Chicken that still has the bones gives a much more flavorful stew and soup and the meat gets to be much more tender and tastier. Except for the ground garam masala spice mix, I've used whole spices in this recipe, you can remove them before serving but I prefer to leave them in. I feel that leaving the whole spices intact in the curry showcases some of the ingredients and could perhaps even make for an interesting conversation at the table. I like to serve this curry with rice or any type of Indian flat bread like rotis or parathas and even with South Indian dosas and idlis.

For the vegetarian option, you can substitute the chicken with 2 to 3 cups of mixed vegetables of your choice such as peas, carrots, beans, eggplant, sweet potatoes, or squash.

south indian chicken curry

easy south indian chicken curry

yields: 4 to 6 servings

ingredients

2 lb chicken (I used a mix of thighs, breasts, and drumsticks)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
6 cloves
4 green cardamoms, cracked with pods
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes or ground chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
400 ml light coconut milk
2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, freshly chopped

1. Remove the skin and trim off any excess fat of the chicken pieces and discard. Wipe the chicken pieces with a clean paper towel and keep aside.
2. In a large thick bottomed stockpot, heat the oil on a medium high flame for 40 seconds until hot. Add the red onion and garlic and saute until the onion becomes translucent.
3. Add the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, garam masala, chili, and turmeric to the pot and cook for another minute. 
4. Add the chicken to the pot and brown for 4 minutes. Stir in the grated coconut and tomato paste and cook for another 1 minute.  Add the salt and coconut milk and bring the contents to a boil on a high flame, immediately reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and cook the chicken for 50 minutes. Once the chicken is completely cooked, taste the curry and adjust with salt if necessary.
5. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or bread.

slow-cooker goan chicken coconut curry

Goan Coconut Chicken Curry

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had a great time spending it with my friends while we ate and drank copious amounts of good food and wine. At about 7 or 8pm, the tryptophan-induced sleep kicked in and we were all extremely tired and sleepy. If I remember correctly, by the time we got home and walked the dog, our eyelids were too heavy and we were so tired to sit up and watch any television. I am thankful that we get Friday off or it would be terrible to go in to work. Still, I am amazed as to how some people have the stamina to go and wait in lines for those insane Black Friday Deals at all the stores the night before. I really don't think I could do that after such a large meal, so more power to those who can and I hope they score great deals.

Garlic and Ginger

After a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and a very busy time cooking, I think most cooks like me would prefer a simple and easy meal with hardly any prep work. This recipe is exactly how I remember my grandmother's chicken curry tasted. I remember this curry when we'd visit her house, she would serve it with rice and a few other accompaniments for lunch, however at night we'd simply eat it with baked bread and sop up the broth. She was never a big fan of eating rice at night as she said it was too heavy to eat before bed time. Simple yet comforting is what this curry is. The curry is infused with delicious coconut milk and a blend of aromatic spices. I've tried to make it simple by skipping out several steps where the spices need to be fried with the onions and removed the oil completely. It's pretty much a leave-it, shut-it, and forget-it kind of recipe. Most Goan curries generally use fresh coconut milk squeezed out from freshly grated coconut to make them hearty and flavorful. I use canned coconut milk since it is easier to find when fresh coconuts are not in season.

Onion, Bay leaves and Chilies

You can use substitute any kind of dried chilies in this recipe but I prefer to use Kashmiri chilies and always keep them on hand. Otherwise, even fresh green or red Thai chilies would be great here. I bumped up the number of tomatoes in this recipe and you can leave the seeds too. Using low-fat coconut milk reduces the amount of saturated fat in the curry keeping it healthy. I also skim of the extra fat that floats to the surface at the end but if you use lean and skinless chicken then you should not end up with too much. I was nervous at first about using a slow cooker for preparing this curry but it turned out to be so easy with minimal work and reminded me so much of my grandmother's curry, that I had to share it with you.

Tomatoes

goan chicken curry

yields: 6 servings

ingredients

4 dried Kashmiri chilies
1 teaspoon cilantro/coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2" piece ginger root, peeled and minced fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin removed
2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium sized onion (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped)
4 large tomatoes (about 3 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
salt to taste
cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Heat a skillet on a medium flame and roast the chilies, cilantro seeds, and peppercorns. As soon as you smell the aromatics (this will take less than a minute or two), remove the spices from the pan and grind them in a processor or coffer grinder with the garlic and ginger.
2. Set the slow cooker to the high heat setting and time to 5 hours. Add the ground spices, the chicken, and the rest of the ingredients, except for the salt. Stir the contents once and cover with the cooker with the lid. You can occasionally stir the chicken curry during the cooking process after one hour.
3. After 5 hours, the curry will be done and the chicken will be soft and tender. At this point season with salt according to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with plain rice.

baked curried sweet potato frites


For the past few months, I have incessantly worked my thesis into perhaps every post, I promise this will be the final time. It's complete, approved, signed, and GONE! Graduation is finally in sight and the horizon looks brighter. Things have been busy at the home-front too, I painted the bedroom last week. Every year since we moved in, I always swear to never paint again, normally when I am half-way through painting but somehow I have succumbed to painting. Painting can be fun but if you have a bit of an O.C.D. problem like me it can morph into a nightmare. Now all I have to do is wait for the furniture to be delivered before I can complete the room.


This year I am taking charge of my own fate when it comes to certain fruits such as figs and pomegranates. You see last year, I performed a series of physical and internet searches to find these fruits but had no luck in Washington D.C. This time around, I grabbed the problem by the fruit literally and planted a fig tree and a pomegranate bush. Now, all I need to do is pray that they grow, bloom, and fruit. Of course and pesky little squirrels stay far, far away!


I love almost all things that contain sweet potatoes, especially sweet potato frites/fries. They definitely have a nicer taste than regular fries and are rich in fiber, beta-carotene, and zinc. The simplicity of preparing these baked fries in nearly 20 minutes makes this an easy snack when I am hungry or even as a side to a barbecue. Since the sweet potatoes have their own unique taste and are seasoned with a bit of curry powder, I prefer to serve them with a little bit of chilled yogurt as a dipping sauce rather than mayo or ketchup both of which can hide the flavors of the curry and the sweet potatoes. A tip when making fries or  chips from any vegetable by the baking method, use parchment paper to line the baking sheet. The paper will prevent the veggies from sticking to the surface and make cleaning easy.


curried baked sweet potato frites

ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon curry powder ( I used Jamaican Curry)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch thick strips along the length of the potatoes. In a large bowl, toss  and coat the sweet potatoes and the rest of the ingredients. 
3. Spread the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes in the center of the oven, till the strips are cooked. If a crispier texture is desired then bake the fries for a longer time in the oven. Serve hot with chilled non-fat plain yogurt seasoned with a little black pepper.