As I sit here writing this my nose is tingling after I carelessly scratched it with my HOT chilli fingers. It’s not at all pleasant so I shall get to the point.. I have proclaimed Sunday nights to now be Curry Night in my home. This has come about due to my cravings for sensual curries after months in India feasting on the greatest food ever. Tonight we are having Eggplant Masala and Thoran, and I shall share my version of both these recipes on here.
I learnt both recipes at a cooking school in Fort Kochin, Kerala, a beautiful old Portuguese inspired village on the south west coast of India. I have adapted them to suite my taste and, of course, make them healthy but I think they still capture the vibrant flavours of South India.
Making a Garam Masala spice mix is essential if you intend on doing any sort of frequent Indian cooking. It will have such a greater depth of flavour than any store bought version. Once you have Garam Masala in your pantry, these recipes can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. Perfect for lazy sundays or mid week meals.
Masala Spice mix
1 C cinnamon sticks
1/2 C whole cloves
1/2 C fennel seeds
8 whole cardamon pods
1 T whole pepper corns
Place all the spices into a high power blender, food processor or coffee girder and blend to a fine powder. Place in an airtight jar. Now you have a spice mix for impromptu curries.
3 T extra virgin coconut oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
400g Eggpplant (I used two varieties of small and medium but any will work)
2 medium tomatoes
1 C coconut milk
1/2 t tumeric powder
1 t cummin powder
2 1/2 t coriander powder 1
/2 t chilli powder
2 t Garam masala
Finely chop the onion and place in a large sauce pan with the coconut oil and crushed garlic. Fry over medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop your eggplant into 2x2cm cubes. Add to the onion mix and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until just softening. Finely slice the tomatoes and set aside.
Now to make the masala spice mix simply combine spices in a small frypan and dry fry until fragrant. Only 2-3 minutes. Place in a mug with 1 C water. Set aside. Now the eggplants have softened, add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally stir through the diluted masala spices and the coconut milk. Heat through, add salt to taste and serve. Serves 4.
Thoran (A dry curry of beans, carrot and coconut)
This is such a versatile dish, cabbage, peas, cauliflower and beetroot can all be used, as long as you’ve got the fresh coconut it will be delicious.
3 T extra virgin coconut oil
2 t mustard seeds a handful of fresh curry leaves
1/2 green chilli, thinly sliced
1 t cummin seeds
1 t coriander seeds
250g fresh beans (I used green, yellow and purple heirloom varieties)
2 medium carrots
1/3 C fresh grated coconut meat
1 t turmeric powder
Firstly, slice your beans into 2 cm pecices and set aside. Slice the carrot into very small cubes, set aside. Heat the coconut oil in a large frypan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, chilli, cumin and coriander. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the beans, carrot and coconut, frying for another couple of minutes. Mix the turmeric powder with 1/4 C water and add the the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Serves 4.
These recipes are perfect on their own or with homemade chapatis, brown rice or quinoa.