Whew — the prep for this recipe was so time intensive. It would be great for a family dinner or an evening with friends where the work load could be shared. Washing, stemming and chopping almost 1-1/2 lbs. of spinach; peeling & chopping eggplant, onion and tomatoes; removing all of the leaves from a bunch of cilantro, chopping and freezing the excess . . . made for a very full afternoon. That being said, this was a beautiful recipe full of fresh vegetables and flavorful spices. The cooking process moves along quickly so preparation is key. Begin by cooking mustard seeds until they pop — really kind of fun — like pop corn when they go to town. Add the spices and the aroma begins to build and becomes intoxicating. I substituted sambal oelek (an Asian chile based condiment made of pounded/chopped fresh cayenne chili peppers) for the minced jalapeno since I had some on hand. Keep adding the vegetables in stages, and you end up with a beautiful meal that is both nutritious and delicious! Served here with brown rice and quinoa.
EGGPLANT AND SPINACH CURRY (4-6 Servings)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Pinch cayenne
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds) in 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 20 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until they pop.
- Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne, and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, ginger and jalapenos and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
- Add the eggplant and salt cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
- Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the cilantro and stir well. Season, to taste, and serve hot over cooked rice.
~from Emeril Lagasse