Stewed eggplant curry (bartha)

If you can’t tell, I’m unemployed and living on a tight budget these days so I’m making large pots of food for myself and living off the leftovers and sometimes putting a bit in the freezer. I usually have a few things to choose from in the fridge so I don’t get bored. Get in touch if you know anyone in the NYC area who needs a vegan chef!

The local produce store sold me 3 lbs of bruised and cold-damaged Holland stem tomatoes for a dollar so I picked up a large eggplant and threw this together. I had a one-pound package of frozen peas in my freezer that came in handy as well. This was one of my favorite curries at a place I used to eat lunch at in midtown when I was employed. I glanced at Ismail Merchant’s Stewed Eggplant Curry recipe before I started. I usually don’t use formal recipes when I’m making big pots of food anymore. Also, I really like it spicy and flavorful but you should know how to tone it down!

3-4 tblsp veg oil (I used olive)
1 large onion – chopped
2 carrots – chopped or sliced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 heaping tablespoons cumin (I used fresh ground)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1-3 teaspoons red pepper and/or other hot spices to taste
1 large eggplant (chopped into 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch cubes. I leave the skin on for extra vitamins but you can skin the eggplant as you like)
4-5 cups chopped tomatoes (canned equivalent ok)
1 lb package of frozen peas (or fresh if that’s convenient)
2 tblsp lemon juice
Salt to taste (1 tsp should be fine)

Saute the onion and carrots for a few minutes in a very large (cast-iron) skillet. Add the spices and the eggplant and a few tablespoons of water on medium heat, stir and add a little water as necessary. Don’t let the eggplant burn and stick. The eggplant will soften in about five mins and darken. You can chop ginger or tomatoes or ginger during this time although ginger should be added asap! Add the tomatoes, turn heat up until it is bubbly, then bring back down to medium. Cook for several minutes. Add the peas, bring heat back up as necessary until peas are cooking and it is bubbly again. Simmer for a few more minutes. Add lemon juice and salt as necessary. Entire cooking time should be around 25 minutes. Serve with rice and/or pita/chapati and/or mango chutney and/or yogurt (if you’re not vegan). Enjoy! Serves 6-9

Next, I’ll share my Minestrone recipe!

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