Saturday, February 23, 2013

silky eggplant satay curry


What inspires your cooking? Do you enjoy paging through cookbooks and magazines, then shopping for the ingredients? Do you taste a fabulous dish at a restaurant and try to replicate it in your own kitchen? Or do you go "shopping" in your pantry and try to arrange what-have-you into a magically delicious concoction?

Since cooking is an obsession for me, it doesn't take much to inspire me: I am guilty of all of the above and then some. But more often then not, my culinary muses are the gorgeous bits of produce that call to me from farmers' markets and the vegetable stalls at Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market. The colors, smells and textures accost my senses, and I experience a cook's version of Stendhal syndrome.  My mind immediately starts "sketching" recipes.

Protein-powerhouse: chickpeas, peanut butter and tofu in a creamy curry, over brown rice  
Last week, I scored a gorgeous bag of slim Asian eggplants for only $1 [Muses don't have to be costly]. I hadn't had a good, creamy curry in a very long time, so I decided to make one, inspired by two of my favorite Thai flavors – creamy red curry paste and satay sauce.  I was pleased with the result – a slightly sweet, smoky-spicy stew. I blissfully noshed on it for lunch several days during the week over jasmine brown rice. You can use any curry paste you like and can even play around with different nut butters.
Dry-frying tofu in a non-stick pan

Silky Eggplant Satay Curry


  • 4 small eggplants, cut in 1-inch cubes or if eggplants are small enough half moons
  • 1 13-14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, divided 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves , torn
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 T red curry paste  or to taste
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 T creamy peanut butter
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 1 pound tofu, pressed, cut into triangles and dry-fried [You can skip the dry frying if you're pressed for time, but the texture makes a huge difference]
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained [Optional]
  • Salt, to taste, plus extra for the eggplant

Serves 6 hungry people

Dry fry your tofu [Tutorial coming soon, I promise!].

Place eggplant pieces in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for at least an hour to draw out the bitterness. Rinse well and set aside.

Heat 3 T of the coconut milk over medium in a large pot. You will use this as you would use oil. Toss in the onion, garlic ginger and kaffir lime leaves and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add curry paste – start with 1 T and gradually add more, to taste and cook another 5 minutes. Add peanut butter, stirring well to melt, then whisk in the rest of the coconut milk.

Add everything but the tofu and chickpeas, if using, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes to an hour,  stirring every once in a while. The curry is done when the  eggplant is soft and the stew is silky smooth. Adjust seasonings. Serve over brown basmati or jasmine rice.



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6 comments:

Hannah said...

Oh you are killing me with those photos! It would be worth a bad reaction to the eggplant for a bite though... I'm still so sad that it's the one food I'm allergic to. It really does look that delicious. Although it might also be wiser to try substituting zucchini. I just can't resist this concept.

Joey said...

Yep, all of the above, although definitely more of the first when it's closest to payday, then more of the last when it's the end of the month. I love aubergine in curry - I've had some nice ones in Indian curries (I think Asian Vegan Kitchen has a good 'un) but not thai. I have some kaffir lime leaves in the fridge too...

urban vegan said...

Aubergine sounds so much more vegan than eggplant. You know you can freeze those Kaffir lime leaves?

Andrea said...

The curry sounds so warming and delicious. Next time I'm in Philly I'm definitely making time to visit the Reading Market — even if I don't really have a place to cook.

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

A lovely aubergine curry! My latest post, was also a great & tasty vegan & Gf curry. Check it out! http://sophiesfoodiefiles.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/sophies-easy-vegan-gluten-free-curry/

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