Eggplant Chickpea Curry
I used to think that you needed more than curry powder to make a great curry, but after challenging myself to try it, I’m happy to say I was wrong. Of course, poor quality or old curry powder isn’t going to give you as much flavour as a good quality curry. So I think it’s worth tracking down a good spice merchant. There are plenty online but if you’re in Australia I recommend Herbie’s run by my mate Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill.
enough for: 2
takes: 45 minutes
2 medium eggplant
3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can coconut milk (400mL / 14oz)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz), drained
1 bunch coriander (cilantro) or mint, leaves picked
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Halve eggplant lengthwise then score the flesh by cutting a criss-cross pattern on the cut surface. I usually do about 3 slashes each way on the diagonal.
2. Place eggplant on a baking tray cut side up. Drizzle with a little oil and bake for about 40 minutes or until eggplant is very soft.
3. While the eggplant is roasting make the sauce. Place some cream from the top of the coconut milk in a frying pan and add curry powder. Cook on a medium high heat for about a minute or until the curry powder smells really lovely.
4. Add tomato paste and the rest of the coconut milk and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
5. When the eggplant is cooked, chop into chunks and stir into the sauce with the chickpeas. Bring back to a simmer. Taste and season with salt and a little more curry powder if needed.
6. Serve with coriander or mint leaves on top.
carnivore – simmer some chopped chicken or beef in with the sauce until just cooked through. Either skip the chickpeas or add the meat in addition.
more substantial – serve with steamed rice or cauliflower ‘rice’ (raw cauliflower grated in the food processor or using a box grater).
different spices – try using a jar Indian curry paste or 1-2 tablespoons garam masala.
no coconut milk – replace with cream and be careful to simmer gently so the cream doesn’t split.
different veg – roast eggplant is really lovely in curries but you could substitute any roast veg such as sweet potato, red capsicum (bell peppers), cauliflower, parsnip, carrot, zucchini, potato. Other veg can be simmered in the sauce like broccoli, snow peas, frozen peas.
different herbs – coriander (cilantro) is a favourite but mint, parsley and basil are all great.
different legumes – feel free to use any cooked legume such as beans, lentils or split peas. You want about 250g (9oz) drained cooked legumes. You could also skip the legumes and just double the vegetables.
short on time – use grilled eggplant from the deli OR skip the eggplant and replace with extra chickpeas.
paleo (grain, legume & dairy-free) – replace chickpeas with chicken thighs.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
eggplant – will keep for a few weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. For longer, sliced and rub with oil and grill until soft and browned.
tomato paste / coconut milk / curry powder / chickpeas – keep them in the pantry.
coriander (cilantro) – freeze it in a plastic bag.
mint – use for another meal.