Indian-Inspired Eggplant Curry

It might seem daunting to cook a curry on a hot summer day, but this one is worth it. Tomatoes provide sauciness and eggplant soaks up the flavors of ginger, chili and spices. Good the first day served with rice or flatbread, it’s even better as it sits. Plus, it freezes easily, so it’s a great fit next time you find yourself overwhelmed by eggplant!

2–3 narrow Asian eggplants, or about 1 pound mini eggplants
2 tablespoons clarified butter or vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
2 fresh chili peppers, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 large tomatoes, chopped
Rice, to serve
Fresh cilantro, to serve (optional)
Fresh lemon juice

Trim stems from eggplant and halve if using baby eggplant, or slice into half-moons if using long Asian eggplants.

Heat oil or clarified butter in a large, heavy pot over medium high.

Add turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, mustard seeds and garam masala. Spices will foam and seeds will pop. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add onion, garlic, ginger and chili. Cook stirring, over medium heat, until onion appears golden.

Add eggplant and salt and stir to coat. Cook until eggplant begins soften and release moisture, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer mixture together until all ingredients are softened. If curry appears too wet, remove cover and continue to cook until pleasantly chunky.

Serve with rice, topped, if you like, with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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