It's such a funny thing being in contact with so many people from all corners of the world on a daily basis. When we're in the midst of our cold winters (yes, it does get cold here in Perth... for a moment at least!), all my friends from the top part of the world are posting photos of the beach, berries, cherries, peaches and ice cream. You couldn't get two seasons more opposite than summer and winter, but as we start to warm up into spring and the top of the world cools in autumn, it almost feels like we crossover in a lot of ways. The last of the summer fruits up there are just hanging on as we start to see the first glimpses of ours appearing down here, local tomatoes are starting to ripen as the glut off late-season ones fall in the northern hemisphere. It's great. For a brief moment we don't feel too far apart from the rest of the world.
I'm working on a bunch of recipes that will be featured on a US site next month, so it's a good thing eggplants are something that grow nearly all year round here! I know for my NZ readers and some of my Australian readers this recipe won't be that great for this time of the year, but for once my US/UK readers will be stoked!
Eggplant + tomato curry with buttered millet
This curry can be made vegan, simply by using olive oil in the curry and millet. Any leftovers will happily store in a covered container in the fridge for 2-3 days. I left chilli out of this so my kids would eat it, however 1 long red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped would be lovely in here. Just add it along with the garlic and ginger. I've given the basic method for cooking millet below, however I usually soak my millet grains overnight in cold water with a touch of apple cider vinegar, to help make it more digestible. The following day, strain off the water and rinse the millet. You can then continue on with the recipe as below, reducing the water to 1 1/2 cups (not 2 cups). I use Kialla organic hulled millet.
Serves around 3-4, as part of a larger meal. It's easily doubled to feed a crowd.
1 large eggplant (aubergine)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
a good pinch ground cinnamon
3 large tomatoes, cores removed and finely diced
2-4 tablespoons water
the juice of 1/2 lemon
coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve
1 cup (210g) hulled millet
butter, ghee or extra virgin olive oil
Chop the top off the eggplant, then dice into 1cm pieces. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle over the salt and then mix well to evenly distribute. Set aside for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile get all the ingredients ready for the curry (chopping garlic, grating ginger etc).
Place a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil or a little ghee then add the millet. Cook, stirring often for a minute or so, until toasty smelling. Remove from the heat and carefully add 2 cups cold water (or 1 1/2 cups if using soaked grains, see headnotes), it will splutter a little so be careful. Return to the heat, add a good pinch of sea salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork. Add a good knob of butter/ghee/splash of extra virgin olive oil and set aside with the lid on until needed.
Squeeze as much liquid from the eggplant as you can (discard liquid). Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil/ghee, then the eggplant. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often until golden and tender. Add the garlic and ginger and cook whilst stirring for 30 seconds, add the spices and cook 20 seconds or so until fragrant. Add chopped tomatoes and a touch of water (just enough to stop the base from catching and burning). Reduce the heat and partially cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10-12 minutes until the tomatoes have collapsed and formed a lovely thick sauce and the eggplant is meltingly soft. Taste and adjust seasoning and add lemon juice. Serve curry with buttered millet, scattered with coriander (cilantro) leaves.
Inspired by this recipe from the archives (one of the most popular recipes I've ever posted!).