Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eggplant with Spinach-'Yogurt' Sauce

It's easy enough to eat Indian cuisine that's vegetarian, but thanks to the high prevalence of ghee (clarified butter) and yogurt, vegan Indian cuisine can be a bit trickier. Not if you do it at home though! Do be forewarned: this recipe takes a good chunk of time, so save it for a quiet night.

First, make the rice. Combine 1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice and two cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (about 35 minutes). Set aside.

Next make the spinach yogurt sauce. Heat one teaspoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add one cup chopped red onion, and saute for five minutes. Next add one cup chopped tomato, 1 teaspoon diced fresh ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves, and saute another five minutes. Add one 10-oz package frozen spinach (thawed, drained, and squeezed dry); cook another 3 minutes. Finally, add one cup water and cook a final 5 minutes (the liquid will evaporate).

Set aside to cool, then process in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Measure out 1/4 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour. (Note: if you can't find this at the supermarket, you can process dried chickpeas in a coffee grinder to equal 1/4 cup). Place the flour in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup water, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 cup plain soy yogurt (such as Silk: www.silksoymilk.com).

Pour the pureed spinach mixture into a saucepan. Add the chickpea flour mixture, along with 1 3/4 cups more plain soy yogurt. Whisk together, then heat over medium heat for fifteen minutes until it thickens slightly. Be sure to stir fairly frequently, as it will begin to splatter otherwise. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.

For the eggplant, slice 1 (3/4 pound) eggplant into 16 equal slices. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Combine 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/2 tsp. turmeric and 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper. Use the back of a spoon to spread the spice mixture evenly over one side of each eggplant slice. Broil for ten minutes.

Finally - I promise! - heat two teaspoons canola oil in a small skillet. Add 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper and two thinly sliced garlic cloves, and cook for one minute until the garlic browns. Remove from heat.

On each of four plates, ladle 1/2 cup rice, 4 eggplant slices, and 3/4 cup spinach-yogurt sauce. Drizzle the garlic/oil mixture evenly over the tops of each serving. Although I took the photo before doing so just for clarity, this tastes best once you mix it all into a great big mess on your plate. Yum. 320 calories per serving.

red onion $1.31
tomato $1.97
ginger $0.65
frozen spinach $2.99
chickpea flour $2.99
plain soy yogurt $2.69
eggplant $1.45
basmati rice $2.27

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
  • Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html