Last weekend, my family wandered along to the Auckland Market to check it out. There wasn’t a lot to it – it generally seemed to be a giant garage sale for people to get rid of things that they no longer wanted. However, there were a lot of stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Hubby pointed at one stall in particular and asked, “Why is that one so busy?” I left the pram with him and went to investigate.
About 5 minutes later, I emerged carrying a bag full of goodies you don’t come across too easily at your regular supermarket here in Auckland. I had bought some curious looking eggplants (I’m not sure what type they were exactly – they seemed to be a cross between Chinese ones and Indian ones), a big bunch of curry leaves and fresh yellow turmeric root. All for only $4!
They did have some fresh white turmeric root, but seeing as I’d never used fresh turmeric before, I thought I’d better stick with the colour I was already familiar with. After we got home, I did some research into how to prepare and use fresh turmeric root. I discovered that you should use food preparation gloves to peel and grate it if you don’t want to end up with stains all over your fingers – a useful tip!
After perusing the internet for inspiration, I decided to make an eggplant curry using all three ingredients. The resulting dish was spicy, fragrant and warming. If you don’t have fresh turmeric, feel free to substitute with the powder, and if you like your curries to have a thinner sauce, use more cream.
I served this with rice, papadums and I also made a keema with the leftover grated turmeric.
You can find the recipe I used for the keema (which is an Indian spiced minced beef dish) on the My Halal Kitchen website by clicking here.
Aromatic eggplant curry
1 white onion, sliced
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 red chillies, finely sliced
1 small handful fresh curry leaves
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp grated fresh yellow turmeric root
5 cardamom pods, split to release seeds
4 small eggplants or 2 large eggplants, cut into batons
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 C cream (or more if you like your sauce a bit thinner)
juice of 1 lime
1 small handful roughly chopped coriander
4 Tbsps vegetable oil
1/4 C water
Heat up the oil in a large pot. Put in the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle, put the onion in and fry on a medium heat. Once softened, add the chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, cumin and cardamom. Fry for a few minutes and then add the eggplant, salt and pepper. Stir to coat the eggplant and fry for a few more minutes.
Add the water and cover. Allow the eggplant to cook – about 10 minutes or so. Stir occasionally to stop anything from burning. Pour in the cream, stir and allow everything to come up to a boil.
Pour in the lime juice, stir again and check the seasonings. Turn off the heat. Stir through the coriander and serve.