Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Curry in a Hurry!

Piccoli Melanzane al Curry con Sugo al Yogurt & Farina di Ceci
Curried Baby Eggplants in a Yogurt & Gram Flour Sauce


I suppose this dish was a kind of "curry in a hurry" this evening... I got home late and just improvised it, quick as you like and easy as can be! It was ready in just 30-40 minutes in all- but my favorite thing about it was the sauce which was lighter than light and tasty as can be!

Well- it WOULD have been perfect if I hadn't been distracted by a phone call and absentmindedly forgot to add the fresh chili when I got back to the stove... but oh well! Nobody's perfect- and a mild curry is nice all the same!


Whilst coconut milk, butter or cream are all delicious bases for curry sauces, there are always lighter ingredients and alternative versions that can be just as delicious.

One of my favorite things about gram flour, apart from the great flavor, is the fact that when added to your food, it prevents yogurt or milk curdling when added- and that was the trick I used in order to bulk-up my curry sauce with low-fat yogurt... such a cool thing to do!

So apart from the steamed rice that I served my curry up with, the ingredients for 2 portions were: 4 Thai eggplants of around 5" length (or equivalent), 1 onion, 4-5 cherry tomatoes, about 2" of fresh ginger, the fresh chili that I forgot (!!!), 4-5 tablespoons of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, 1 tablespoon of gram (chickpea) flour, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, a pat of clarified butter for frying, a few curry leaves and some fresh cilantro to garnish.


Even without the chili, this was still a deliciously flavorful and aromatic dish- but as some like it hot- and I usually do... try not to get distracted and to remember to add some extra heat to yours!


I cut the eggplants into bite-sized slices, chopped the onion coarsely, cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and chopped the ginger into a very fine dice.


I began by frying the eggplant and ginger in a good pat of clarified butter- about 1 teaspoon, until they began to brown slightly.


I then added the gram flour and stirred it in so that all of the eggplant slices got nicely coated.


After the gram flour had begun to toast a little in the saucepan, I added the garam masala and turmeric and stirred them in nicely too. The heat helps to toast the spices slightly and bring out their flavor immensely!


I then added the tomatoes and onion, the curry leaves, salt and pepper and gave everything a good stir.


All I needed to do now was to top everything up with just enough boiling water to cover it, reduce the heat to a simmer and let it bubble away for the next 20-25 minutes- which left me plenty of time to steam some Basmati rice to serve on the side in the meantime.

Right at the end, I added the yogurt and stirred it in well, adjusted the seasoning accordingly, as it will need a little more salt... but then, lo and behold! Everything was finished and delicious and ready to serve!

And of course- plenty of fresh cilantro makes it not only look much prettier, but also adds a lovely fresh finish to make this into a perfect mix! Well almost... if only I had thought to add the chili pepper in time!!!


And when curry sauce can be as rich and creamy as this- without actually BEING rich or containing cream- well! That is even more reason to be guilt free and to indulge! Yum-yum-yum!

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