Just on two weeks ago, via Instagram, I declared myself happy with a new vegetarian (and vegan) dish for Sunday Suppers, and shared only a photo, promising to write up the recipe. I have a list which, I fear, is growing. So, as I believe it’s important to do as you would be done by, and to follow through, here is the recipe.
The back story
When we lived in Cape Town, one of our favourite annual events was the Good Food and Wine Show. One year, I picked up a recipe book from a local chef who was promoting her range of spices. As so often happens, little books get swamped by bigger ones. Then the novelty wears off, and the next fad begins, so they’re forgotten. Anyhow, I still have some of the branded spice jars which have been re-filled, so when I was looking a vegetarian and/or vegan curry option for Sunday Suppers, I remebered the book, and that Yudkhika had included at least one great recipe for brinjal. Unless you hadn’t guessed, we had a bumper crop this year – so I fished the book out.
It turns out that there are two brinjal recipes, one of which includes a curry sauce with coconut which, somewhere in the recesses of my memory, I think I did make. The original recipe would work as a side dish, or entree, but not as a main because it had no protein.
Well, that wasn’t going to defeat me and I decided to turn the sauce into a dahl. Here’s what I did:
2 medium sized brinjals – we only had small, heirloom ones – which were salted because they are bitter – I used about 4
oil for frying
1 onion, finely chopped
2 t chilli powder (or to taste – I used a fresh chilli, finely chopped)
½ t turmeric
1 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
2 – 3 cloves of garlic – crushed
1 T (15ml) Magic Masala*
2 tomatoes, skinned and copped
1 tin (165ml) coconut cream or 30 ml desiccated coconut
salt to taste
½ cup red lentils
1½ cups water
½ bunch fresh spinach or Swiss chard, finley shredded (optional)
fresh coriander (dhanya/cilantro)
Salt the brinjals, cut into 2½ cm slices and set aside. While they’re sweating, make the dahl by sautéing the onion over a medium heat until caramelised. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes without burning and then add the tomatoes, lentils and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the lentils are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. You may need to add water, depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes. Stir in the spinach if using, Magic Masala and coconut cream. If you’re using the desiccated coconut, add it with the water. Simmer for a couple more minutes so the flavours mingle.
While the dahl is cooking, fry the brinjal slices and drain on absorbent paper.
Once drained, place them on hot plates (and/or gently into the dahl) and plate. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with fragrant rice.
1 tsp each of cumin and coriander seeds and a dry, red chilli. Roast for about 10 minutes at about 140°C, or until they are a shade darker. Allow to cool and grind.
Both versions were equally delicious and have been added to the Sunday Supper repertoire.
Click here to download a printable version of the recipe.
Until next time
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa
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