Tag Archives: curry

Eggplant Curry

Last Saturday was not a Hemingway in Paris type of Fall day. It was cool and sunny, and I rode my bike along the Hudson river without sentiment (although there was plenty of red sediment in the river itself from flooding upstate). I wore a sweater and a scarf and fingerless gloves which came off (the gloves, not the sweater, or the scarf for that matter) soon after we reached the market at Union Square.

There is a lady at the market who sells Mexican food from a small wire shopping cart–the kind you see old ladies pulling into Fairway, the kind with plastic wheels that fall off if you don’t know the exact angle at which to push around a corner. She always has a circle of people around her, peering over her shoulder into red coolers full of sauces and fillings. This week we tried gorditas. They were spicy. Good and spicy. My tongue tickled from the burn, but I couldn’t stop. And then I wanted another one.

The market wasn’t crowded this week, so we were done our shopping and back on our bikes by 9am. We would have been home napping by 9:45 if it weren’t for the motorcycles. My front tire had just touched the Henry Hudson when a police officer in an SUV blocking the crosswalk waved me back. Behind him, a parade of motorcycles came rumbling up the highway. A long parade.

People began to crowd at the crosswalk. I wanted to join the two kids shielding their ears from biker thunder. I exchanged a smile of commiseration with a woman in a gray suit. We waited and waited, and the bikers kept coming and coming. Cars waiting to turn on the highway honked with nowhere to go, adding to the cacophony. A runner stopped next to me, yelled “fuck!”, and decided to cross anyway, weaving through the motorcycles as if she were on the streets of Hanoi.

We were delayed again by the wind. Riding north on the river path, the wind was in my face. Each curve in the path brought another gust, and the entire way home felt like an uphill struggle. The wind is my enemy. I even started swearing at it. I was swearing at the wind.


All of this brings me to eggplant curry. When we got home, we were cold and tired. Curry fixes both of those things. Plus, eggplants are related to tobacco. 20lbs of eggplant = the same amount of nicotine as 1 cigarette.

Eggplant Curry

1. Cube 1 lb eggplant and put in a bowl. Sprinkle eggplant cubes with some ground turmeric and salt. Set aside.

2. Cut 2 small onions in half (the long way) and slice lengthwise (not across).

3. Slice 4 chilies lengthwise.

4. Heat oil in a large pan. I used a cast iron pan, but a wok would work as well. Add the eggplant and fry until soft and light brown. Eggplant soaks up a lot of oil and takes a while to cook, so add more oil if necessary. It will take about 5-10 minutes, but eventually the eggplant will begin to release some of the oil. When the eggplant is done, remove from pan and set aside.

5. Add more oil to pan if necessary and fry the onion until soft. Mix in 1 tbs curry powder and the green chilies. Add 1 cup coconut milk and salt to taste. Boil until coconut milk begins to thicken. Stir in eggplant and cook until sauce becomes the consistency of gravy.

6. In a small pan heat a very small amount of oil and add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 4 dried curry leaves. Cook until fragrant and the seeds begin to pop. This is the tempering oil. Remove the curry leaves and pour over the eggplant mixture.

7. Squeeze at least 2 tsp of lime juice into curry, but add more if the dish needs more acid.

8. Serve over brown rice.

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Almond butter and fro-yo

Cleaning and teaching were the order of this afternoon. Days when I am able to teach from my apartment far surpass those when hours of sitting on the bus or subway is necessary. Tonight was a curry night. In retrospect, it was much too muggy in my apartment for curry cooking. Despite the heat, I adapted the recipe a bit, and it turned out great. The right amount of spice; a hint of cinnamon; the freshness and zest of cilantro and lime.

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Check out the recipe here.

Back to my experimentation with nuts, almond butter is appearing daily in many food blogs out there. I can munch on raw almonds as long as they are combined with a big mouthful of dried fruit. Determined to try this popular treat, I’ve been poking around at different grocery stores checking out almond butter prices. The current prices are steep, so to save a little green, I purchased almonds in bulk, roasted them up, and tried to create my own vanilla almond butter. The texture is nice, and I like the flavor, but I don’t have the proportions perfect yet. Once I figure that out, I’ll post the recipe.

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James and I have been looking forward to a special after dinner treat all day. Pinkberry, a frozen yogurt chain, was giving away free small cups of their newest summer flavors along with two toppings of your choice. The store itself is more than slightly annoying, and I try to distance myself from this new, up and coming fro-yo culture (you’ll see what I mean if you visit the website). Appearing nonchalant, my response to the mention of Pinkberry is often a passive, “yeah, that stuff’s okay… I’ve tried it before.” But I actually love the stuff. Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.

Here is the line of people waiting for their fix:

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We were happy that we had umbrellas in hand. Here is the ominous sky with black clouds rolling in. It looks like I may have managed to capture just how windy it was as well. Wind can be a tricky element to photograph.

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Anticipating a huge storm, we noticed the books in the window of a children’s bookstore were all about rain. It must be a sign, or perhaps just a tribute to our streak of rainy weather.

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And the downpour begins. This is the line now expanded by soggy umbrellas:

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Finally, success! Shaking away the rain water, we had made it through the brightly lit front doors. Rubbing our eyes while they adjusted to the contrast of bright whites and neon hues, we were bombarded by Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” The two flavors being served were Passion fruit and Coconut. James tried the former and I tried the latter. Just the right amount of coconut flavor and sourness from the yogurt. James isn’t the biggest fan of the fro-yo, and he was happy that the Passion fruit flavor was so strong. My toppings were mini chocolate chips and raspberries.

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James left immediately after we finished eating to do some fieldwork in Jackson Heights. Not feeling much like walking home by myself in the rain, I hopped on a bus.

Tomorrow I’m off to Boston for a good friend’s bachelorette party. Look forward to a guest post from James.