Some years back, my seester (with whom the rest of us – being obnoxious siblings – saddled an unflattering and singularly inapt nick-name) was on a tight budget & was heading toward becoming a vegetarian as a result. We swapped a few ideas for how to salvage ramen noodles, of course, and did a lot of other odds and ends in her kitchen, including giving me the opportunity to discover a few more of my allergies while broadening our culinary horizons.
She's become more fiscally sound, since then, and also become more protein-focused, but I've kept the one recipe from those hard times that actually made me feel that being broke and meatless wasn't quite a fate worse than death.
The first time my seester fixed this for us, it was in her apartment in Philadelphia, on one of those trips to visit I could barely afford to take, and she could barely afford to host me, but… well… she's my seester. Just sitting around and talking with her is an awesome way to spend a week. Food is a bonus.
So, there we were, in her tiny kitchen, with her wok and her cutting board on her tiny drop-leaf table from Ikea, going all teamwork-y on this sumptuous feast of curry on rice. I can still see the steam on her glasses as she checked the taters' tenderness…
Now, it's your turn to steam up your own glasses, or smoke your tastebuds, or whatever.
Moo's Potato & Eggplant Curry Thingy
5 large potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled & cubed about 1/2" to 1"
2 medium eggplants (about 2 lbs total)
plenty of table salt
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp each: ground ginger, turmeric, cumin seeds,
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each: cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and coriander
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or crushed
2 1/2 c. water
2/3 c. cooked or fresh peas (if frozen, thaw under hot water until just above room temp)
2 medium sweet bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 c. plain yogurt (I use Greek style)
4-6 cups cooked rice
Peel eggplant, slice into 1/2 inch thicknesses. Salt both sides of each slice, let stand on rack or paper towels about 1/2 hour. Using fresh paper towels, press out liquids. Cut into cubes.
Peel & cut potatoes.
Melt butter in wok or large frying pan at medium-high heat. Add black mustard seed. When they have mostly popped, add other spices and garlic. Brown slightly, then add potatoes, mixing thoroughly to cover the potatoes with spice mixture. Let potatoes brown, then stir in eggplant.
Add water, allow to simmer uncovered 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.
While that is cooking, clean & cut peppers.
Remove wok from heat.
Add peppers and peas, allow to warm up. Add yogurt to taste (you may instead decide to have individuals add this as it is served). Serve on rice.
Update, 13 January, 2013: in a fit of cabin fever, I decided to make this no matter what ingredients I had in the house. I lacked cumin seeds and cayenne pepper, so I adjusted to approximately 3/4 tsp, ground cumin, added saffron instead of turmeric, and minced five small serrano peppers (about 2 Tbs) instead of using the cayenne. The bell peppers I had were sweet red peppers, so, again, I made do. It came out very nicely, if I do say so, myself. The red peppers perked up the look tremendously, and the whole dish seemed just a little fresher than the last time I'd fixed it.