Almost three years ago, I posted a recipe for homemade Chana Masala from Meera Sodha’s colorful book, Made In India. It’s delicious and if you love chana masala as much as I do, please give it a try, perhaps as a complement to the curry I am posting today. In its original form, Cherry Tomato and Eggplant Curry is also from Sodha’s book. I branched out when making it this week to serve to a friend by swapping out the eggplant with butternut squash and a handful of baby spinach. We both loved it although unfortunately, pictures were not snapped of this variation!
This curry is quite simple to pull together and is dairy free, making it very light. Nonetheless, the flavors are very bright thanks to a combination of coriander, cumin and turmeric. The recipe makes four servings and leftovers reheat well. If anything, the curry is even better after sitting for a day in the fridge.
For this dish, it’s best to use a wide bottom saute pan as the instructions suggest so there is a lot of surface area for the vegetables to interact with all the seasonings. It’s also important to use the freshest possible spices for maximum flavor.
Here is a picture of most of the ingredients, mostly so you can get a sense of the size of my onions and eggplant. Note you want to smash and peel the garlic, leaving it as whole as possible so that it doesn’t burn and become bitter during the cooking process…
The onions are sauteed over medium high heat to encourage a little browning. The remaining aromatics are added and sauteed for just a few minutes, after which the heat is turned down, the tomatoes are added and the pan is covered for five minutes. Sodha suggested ten minutes, but that is too long as you want the tomatoes to soften but not completely fall apart.
The spices are added with the tomato paste and sugar and stirred to create a paste like consistency in the pan. Warm water thins everything out and the eggplant (or butternut squash) is added and cooked until tender.
Serve with some cilantro, yogurt and naan bread. Over brown rice is nice as well. Add the Chana Masala for some protein if you want!