I had this delicious eggplant dish when we were in Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago and I’m not a huge fan of eggplant. However when it’s made right I love this vegetable. This curry is one such dish.
The eggplant was cooked to perfection and flavored with a wonderful cilantro , chili and ginger sauce. With addition of tender sweet peas, this combination of veggies really tasted outstanding.
When we rented an airbnb in Santa Cruz recently we had invited our friends Padmini and Naresh to join us for dinner one evening, as coincidentally they also happened to be staying on the coast that week. Rather than eat out, we decided to do a pot luck dinner. We had a South Indian menu which included a variety of veggie curries and lentil sambhar; and Padmini brought this delicious eggplant curry for our dinner in.
Cilantro ginger paste
With minimal spices, most of the flavor comes from the cilantro, chili, ginger paste. The steps are easy as 1, 2, 3. Just saute the eggplant and peas in a little oil with mustard and cumin seeds. Make the cilantro paste. Add the paste to the cooked veggies and stir in. That’s it. The result is a delicious eggplant curry that tastes wonderful with whole wheat chapati or naan. Or serve it alongside daal and rice.
Cook’s Notes: Make sure to get a coarse cilantro paste without using water. You want a pesto like consistency. I added cashews to get that thick texture which also made it easy to grind the cilantro and ginger into a paste. Or use sunflower seeds or pepita seeds if there are nut allergies in the household.
If you like eggplant, for a quick and easy Indian style curry give this outstanding recipe a try.
Eggplant & Pea Curry in Cilantro Ginger Sauce
Recipe contributed by Padmini
2-3 Japanese eggplants cut into chunks or small 8 small round eggplants cut into small long pieces
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 inch piece of ginger peeled and cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic (optional) my addition
2 green chilies (remove seeds to keep it mild) finely cut
About 8-10 cashews
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
In a pan warm 2 tbsp oil. Add the mustard seeds and toast for about 1 minute, then add the cumin seeds and brown them. Add turmeric powder and then add the eggplant. Cook the eggplant until almost tender, then add the peas and salt to taste, continue cooking until the peas and eggplant are cooked. Turn the stove off.
In the meantime make the cilantro paste. In a mini food processor add the fresh cilantro, ginger, cashews, green chili plus garlic if using. Pulse until you get a coarse paste.
Add the cilantro paste to the cooked veggies. Stir in and cover the pot for a couple of minutes. The warmth from the veggies will gently cook the paste. Curry is ready.
Serve eggplant curry with chapati and yogurt raita or with rice and daal.