Spicy Eggplant Stew – Madhur Jaffrey’s Recipe

This is a recipe I have used many, many times for a wonderfully hearty and meatless winter stew. It is from Madhur Jaffrey’s book “World Vegetarian” which is a great source of inspiration for me when I crave something different to eat. Whoever said that vegetarian dishes are boring, never read this book! There are amazing recipes from all over the world, ranging from Moroccan sweet breakfast pancakes sprinkled with honey, to traditional Indian Aloo Gobi – potatoes with cauliflower – and even Jamaican Callaloo soup. I suggest getting your own copy from Amazon, online. Also, if you have any trouble finding the spices for this recipe, do check out Kalustyan’s virtual store or their NYC location on Lexington and 28th street.

Here is what you’ll need for this recipe, to serve 4 to 6 people:

1/4 cup peanut or canola oil

1/8 tsp. ground asafoetida

1 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds

3 whole dried hot red chilies

2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed

3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

3/4 pounds Japanese eggplants, those long ones, cut into 1 inch cubes

3/4 pounds white mushrooms, cut in quarters

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 cup of tomato puree, fresh or from a can

Salt to taste

3/4 cup cilantro, well packed into measure, finely chopped

2 1/4 cups drained cooked chickpeas, again fresh or canned are both OK

Put oil in pot and heat on high. Add asafetida and cumin. Sizzle for 10 seconds, then put in the red chillies. When they swell and darken, in just seconds, put in garlic and potatoes. Stir for a minute. Put in eggplant, and repeat for a couple of minutes. Then put in turmeric and ground coriander. Stir once and put in tomato puree plus 4 cups of water, salt, cilantro and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and cover, turning heat down to low. Cook gently for 40 minutes, until veggies are tender. Voila! You have yourself a fabulous vegetarian winter stew to keep you warm!

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