Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Tandoori" Eggplant

Even when the weather is warm, I sometimes like a little hearty comfort food.  This faux Tandoori eggplant fits the bill.

Technically, "tandoori" pertains to food cooked in a tandoor, a round clay oven.  I don't own a tandoor, so here I'm using the term to describe the spice blend I used to season the dish, a blend reminiscent of what would be used in tandoori chicken or chicken tikka.

Don't be afraid of the seasoning blend.  It's not hot-spicy at all, and the juices from the vegetables absorb the spices to make a delicious sauce.

While I don't have a tandoor, I *do* have a microwave, and I used it here to cook the eggplant.  This was a new technique for me, one I found scattered across the internet.  One of the challenges of cooking with eggplant is that it can be bitter.  The salting of the cubes takes care of that little problem, though you usually have to let the eggplant sit in the salt for half an hour, draining.  The microwave speeds up this process considerably.  It also starts cooking the eggplant "dry", so the cubes of veg don't are par-cooked when they go in the stew.  This prevents overly mushy or occasionally slimy eggplant.  No, cooked in the microwave, the eggplant took on a wonderful, tender but slightly chewy texture that was absolutely lovely.

For those of you worried about the onset of bikini season, this is a great dish.  Nary a drop of oil, lots of filling vegetables, protein-packed quinoa, and metabolism-boosting spices.  What more could you ask for?

So before the weather turns so blisteringly hot you cannot even think of turning on the stove, give this a try!  Enjoy.

Tandoori Eggplant

1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced in 1 inch pieces
1 tsp. salt

1 c. chopped onion
4 cloves garlic
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can chick peas (drained and rinsed)
2 zucchini, sliced in half moons
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. vegetable broth
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. chopped parsley
"tandoori" spice blend:
1/2 tsp. each cumin, coriander, ground ginger, tumeric, and salt
1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and cayenne

Rice or quinoa

Toss the diced eggplant with 1 tsp. salt, then spread on a dinner plate lined with 3 or 4 layers of paper towels.  Microwave for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, spray a large pot with a little nonstick spray.  Cook onions over medium heat until starting to turn golden.  Add garlic and the "tandoori" spice blend;  cook another minute.  Add tomatoes, chick peas, zucchini, raisins, and vegetable broth.  Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Add eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and parsley.

Allow all the ingredients to heat and let the flavors mingle while you cook the rice or quinoa.  Serve the stew on a bed of cooked grains.


  1. Ohhhh... Such a pretty dish, bright colors and I love all that spice! Saving this for a try soon.

    And for the record, bikini season does not scare me at all ;)

    Sometimes Year on the Grill, but mostly

  2. This week my family is playing "what can we make with the pantry scrapings?" since no one has marketed for a while. However, our local farmers market reopens for the summer today (now established at Plimoth Plantation, no less), so I can go hunt for some vegetables. If I'm lucky, there may be eggplant(but probably not local)! Love the spices here.

  3. Good luck marketing, Sheila. May the eggplant be plentiful.

    And thanks, Dave ... you salty dog. :)

  4. Wendy, your post is encouraging me to once again, after many many failed attempts to successfully cook eggplant! I never thought to use the microwave. Both kid are gone for the weekend so I plan on hitting the farmer's market Saturday so Mr. Nanc and I can enjoy this for supper.
    Thanks so much!

  5. This sounds delicious. Nice and healthy. I love eggplant and found that it steams very nicely. I imagine microwaving it is similar.

    ~ Krista

  6. Good luck, Nanc! I hope this works for you.

    I've never tried steaming, Krista ... will give it a shot. I love eggplant and am always looking for new ways to cook it. :)