Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry (Sri Lanka) (Vambotu Curry)

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Serve this with plain rice. You may make it as hot as you like. The original recipe called for 2 tsp of cayenne! Normally the eggplant is fried. I have tried to cut down on the oil by broiling it instead. I have used the large variety of purple eggplant for this dish. Fennel and mustard seeds may be ground at home in a clean coffee grinder. For this recipe, each needs to be ground separately. From page 189 of Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian.
1 lb eggplant
2 tbs peanut or canola oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp cayenne, or more as desired
4 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1 small cinnamon stick
15 fresh curry leaves (use fresh basil leaves as an interesting substiture)
1 small onion (2 ounces), peeled and cut into fine half rings
3/4 cup coconut milk from a well-stirred can
2 tsp ground brown mustard seeds
1. Preheat the broiler, placing a shelf about 6 inches away from the source of heat.
2. Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch thick round slices and put the slices in a broiling tray.  Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil on both sides of the slices and then sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and pepper.  Place the tray under the broiler and cook one side for about 4 minutes and the other side for about 3 minutes, or until both sides are a pretty, reddish color.  Remove and quarter each slice.  Put the sections in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, the cumin, coriander, turmeric, fennel, cayenne, and lime juice.  Toss gently to mix.
3. Put the remaining 1 tbs oil in a large, preferably nonstick frying pan and set over medium-high heat.  When hot, put in the cinnamon stick and a second later, the curry leaves.  Stir once and put in the onion.  Stir and fry for about 2 minutes, or unit the onion has browned a bit.  Put in the seasoned eggplant.  Stir and toss for 4 minutes.  Combine the coconut milk and the mustard seeds and pour the mixture over the eggplant.  As soon as it starts bubbling, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes, stirring gently now and then.  Check for the balance of salt, cayenne, and lime, adding more of whatever you need.  Serve hot.
Serves 3 to 4
Meal   DinnerCuisine   Indian
Dish   Main DishCooking Method   Sauteed
Main Ingredient   VegetablesStyle   One Dish Meals
Prep Time   less than 15 minutesCooking Time   15 to 30 minutes
Features   Dairy-Free, Diabetic-Friendly, High-Fiber, Low-Calorie, Low-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat, Low-Sodium, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat/Gluten-Free

Matthew S

Member since May 2009

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