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Spiced Eggplant & Coriander Masala

October 11, 2013

Apologies for the picture quality..

Apologies for the picture quality..

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family alongside white potatoes, tomatoes and capsicum. Like tomatoes, it is technically classified as a fruit, in fact,  actually a berry, and comes in varied shapes and sizes ranging from the big egg shaped deep purple ones that you would be familiar with,  to cucumber shaped, or tiny green pea shaped ones, often used in Thai cooking. They can be purple, white, green, striped or a combination!

The raw fruit can be somewhat bitter, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavour. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining of the sliced fruit to remove some of the bitterness, but recent modern (read GM) varieties have this bitterness bred out and I don’t ever bother with this step (unless the fruit is a bit old or really oversized).

Nutritionally, eggplant is low in fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It is an excellent source fibre, potassium and manganese. It is very good source of magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and folate.

They are also related to tobacco and belladonna which equates to their hyper-allergenic status in many people who are nightshade sensitive. This is because they contain a group of compounds alkaloids which can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function in some people (and animals), and may also be able to compromise joint function.

Did you know that eggplants also contain small amounts of nicotine? 9kg of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette!

I love eggplant, lots of ways. Grilled, roasted, braised or fried. I have a great recipe for “raw” eggplant jerky here. when cooked it takes on the flavours of whatever its mixed with and can have a great “meaty” texture as in this dish or a soft rich texture as in my favourite dip: Babaganoush.

This stew/combined stir-fry, is good enough to eat!! It’s a one-pan wonder which can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and is great enjoyed with steamed basmati rice or simply, some pappadums. Eggplant absorbs a lot of oil, don’t be alarmed at how much you need for this recipe – just make sure you are using a good quality oil such as coconut or macadamia oil.

2 tabs coconut oil
1 teas each of coriander seeds, cumin & mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 knob ginger
1 long green chilli, chopped
1 onion
1/2 bunch coriander
1 teas chilli powder
1/2 teas turmeric
1 tab coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar

In the TM add the oil and seeds and toast for 6 minutes on VAROMA temp SP 1.
Add the garlic, ginger, onion, green chilli & coriander and chop on SP 6 for 5 seconds.
Add the chilli powder, turmeric and vinegar and cook for a further 2 minutes.

1 large eggplant, cut in 2cm cubes
3 tabs coconut oil
2 tomatoes, chopped
100ml water
1 tab brown rice syrup
1 teas salt or to taste
1 tab savoury yeast flakes or vegetable stock concentrate (optional)
handful of baby spinach

In a frying pan, heat up the oil and sauté the eggplant on all sides until golden. add the spice paste and tomatoes and sauté for a further 5 minutes until fragrant. Add the water, honey, salt and yeast flakes and stir while cooking until the vegetables soften and liquid evaporates. At the end, throw in the spinach and wilt down before serving.

Serve with pappadums, rice or flatbread and enjoy!!

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