Eggplant and Mushrooms with Cumin and Fennel
December 1, 2011 • Spiritual Adventures
Here’s a simple North Indian style dish made with eggplant and mushrooms. It’s very quick to make and can use almost any vegetables you have around.
3/4 cup eggplant cut into 3/4″ cubes, skin on
3/4 mushrooms cut into 1/2″ slices
1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala if available (see note)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
a little chopped cilantro
1. Heat a little oil in a saucepan.
2. When it is hot, add the cumin and fennel seeds, and let sizzle for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and turn the heat down a little, letting the garlic and ginger cook, but not brown, about 1 minute.
4. Add the chopped onion, turmeric, cayenne and salt and stir well.
5. Reduce the heat and cook the onion for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary so it doesn’t brown too much.
6. Add the eggplant, stir well, and turn up the heat a little so that the eggplant cooks through.
7. When the eggplant is almost done, add the mushrooms and the garam masala (if available) and cook a few more minutes until the mushrooms are the way you like them.
8. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.
• Serve this with basmati rice or any kind of flat bread. Wheat tortillas make a great substitute for Indian chapathis.
• Make sure not to let the spices burn in the oil – this will give an off taste to the dish. They should turn brown, but never black.
• As with many recipes that use multiple vegetables, I often use the microwave to pre-cook the slower cooking vegetable so that it can be added at the same time as faster cooking vegetables. This dramatically reduces the overall cooking times, which is great for getting food on the table. I often do this while the onions are softening, when you have an 8 minute window to prep the other vegetables. This works particularly well with potatoes which take quite a bit longer than most vegetables.
• Garam Masala is a spice mixture that is used extensively in North Indian cooking. It typically contains coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, but there are innumerable variations. It is usually added toward the end of the cooking process. Though not absolutely required, it adds an extra depth of flavor to this dish.
• You can vary the proportion of cumin and fennel seeds to suit your taste.
• You can also use many different vegetables instead of the eggplant and/or the mushrooms – potatoes, cauliflower, beans, broccoli etc.
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