WEEK TWO of Kitchen Psycho's Secret Ingredient Cook-Off, and we've chosen YOGURT for our secret ingredient.
I was flipping channels the other day and stopped on The Cooking Channel. Oh my. This woman was showing a firefighter ('cuz they have time to cook!!) how to cook simple Indian fare, and this was one of the dishes they made. It looked incredible, and I have eggplant growing in the garden, so, why not? Indian food doesn't HAVE to involve curry, you know... I found the recipe on their website, but made one small change: I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. A very nice decision!
Too, when the recipe says to heat gently, they mean it! Remember that yogurt can curdle with higher heat, so stir constantly and heat gently. And I would suggest Greek yogurt to make it a richer, thicker sauce. One more thing: I think she made this as a main dish, but I don't really see how, unless you're looking for a light lunch. This serves as more of a side for me. Something that enhances the weight of a heavier main course.
BENGALI-STYLE AUBERGINE COOKED IN YOGURT
14 ounces small Japanese-style aubergines (eggplant) thinly sliced into rounds
Good pinch ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
9 ounces plain yogurt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 rounded teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a frying pan and ground in a clean coffee grinder or mortar and pestle
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish
Dust the aubergine slices with the turmeric, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red chile powder.
Heat the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and fry the aubergine pieces until soft (you may have to do this in two batches). Set the fried aubergine aside.
In a bowl, beat 3/4 of the yogurt with the sugar, salt, and the remaining red chile powder. Pour the mixture into a small saucepanand heat gently, stirring often to prevent the sauce from splitting or breaking, for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the ground cumin and the fried aubergine slices. Heat gently and stir to combine.
Stir in the remaining yogurt, check and adjust the seasonings, as necessary and garnish with the fresh chopped cilantro.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg