Sunday, November 1, 2009

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

Instead of writing a novel in November I'm going to try to put that same sort of frantic writerly spirit into getting back to blogging about food. I'm hoping to write something here everyday in November. Horrible foodie that I am I have been eating, cooking, and generally carrying on in the kitchen plenty lately I just haven't been posting about it. And I've been eating such amazing things it's wrong of me to not be talking about them. Somewhere along the line since the last time I wrote there was chocolate bacon cake which the world needs to know about.

I'm starting with something something simple but tasty. It's hearty and warm so it's perfect for the chilly fall weather when I know all I want is soups and stews, bonus points if there are copious amounts of beans involved. There are a lot of ingredients but they all come together easily. The only hard part was frying the eggplant which I would skip all together when cooking this again, it didn't contribute anything to the dish other than extra fat.

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

3/4 cups dried chickpeas

8 tablespoons ghee, or a mixture of butter and olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 green chillies, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder

2large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 cup water
1 pound fresh spinach, trimmed and coarsely chopped

small handful fresh cilantro chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight in water with a drop of lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain and set aside.

Preheat an oven to 325°. Meanwhile, heat 6 tablespoons of the ghee or butter and oil mixture in a large, deep saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the eggplant and fry, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the cubes are well-browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the remaining ghee or butter and oil to the pan. When hot, add the ginger, chillies and cumin seeds and fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the seeds turn dark brown. Toss in the asafoetida, wait a few seconds, then stir in the tomatoes. Add the coriander, paprika, cayenne and turmeric and cook until the tomatoes reduce to a thick sauce, about 10 minutes.

Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chickpeas, eggplant and spinach. Remove to a casserole dish, cover, and put in the preheated oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, garam masala, salt and pepper just before serving.

Recipe from Lisa's Kitchen Blog.

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