Easy Curried Eggplant
By Cheryl Forberg, RD
I love eggplant every which way, but I often forget to cook with it. Though they're found in a myriad of colors and sizes, most of the eggplants we see in the market are deep purple in color and oblong in shape. The purplish skin is indicative of the presence of anthocyanins. These powerful antioxidants can help lower the risk of a number of different cancers as well as support memory function, and can also be found in relatively high amounts in acai, black currants, raspberries and blueberries.
But that's not the only reason to savor eggplant. This versatile veggie is 95% water, which means it doesn't have an awful lot of calories. For example, a 1¼ pound eggplant yields about 5 cups of uncooked eggplant with just over 100 calories.
You won't want to eat it raw, however - it can be very bitter. Everything changes when it's cooked, though. Baked, broiled, grilled, sauteed - even microwaved - a little cooking yields a tender, almost creamy texture. Some like to salt their eggplant before cooking it, which neutralizes acidic flavors and also draws out water, making the flesh seem meatier.
When shopping for eggplant, look for smooth skin that yields slightly to pressure, but bounces back. Eggplants have a dimple at the blossom end that can be round (male) or oval (female) in shape. An oval dimple is usually shallower and is often indicative of fewer seeds and a meatier, more desirable eggplant. A round, deeper dimple frequently indicates many seeds inside, especially if the eggplant is large and mature. Fresh eggplants, which yield optimal flavor, should seem heavy for their size. For this reason, it's best to cook them as soon as possible.
Its neutral flavor profile means that eggplant combines well with other vegetables and seasonings. Once you get past the eggplant prep, this fabulous vegetarian recipe is a breeze. While scrumptious on its own, it’s wonderful with grilled chicken or my favorite way, crowned with poached eggs (and served for breakfast).
2 large Melissa’s Eggplants (about 1½ pounds each), roasted, peeled seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons Grapeseed Oil
1 large Onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Fresh Ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon Garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Curry Powder
2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1½ cups Diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (1 15 ounce can)
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon Chipotle (or chopped roasted Hatch Chilies)
1 teaspoon Salt
Cracked Pepper, to taste
½ cup chopped Cilantro
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook and stir until onion is soft and just starting to brown. Add ginger and garlic; sauté one minute longer. Add tomatoes, yogurt, eggplant and pepper; stir well. Simmer, covered for about five minutes over medium high heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in cilantro Mix in eggplant and jalapeno pepper, and season with salt. Cover, and cook 10 minutes over high heat. Remove cover, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro to serve.
Nutrition Analysis for 1 serving (approx. 1 cup)
Calories from Fat 30
Total Fat 3
Sat Fat 0
Trans Fat 0
Total Carbohydrate 17g
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 25%