The Mystery Box Challenge dinners continue with our third night of masterful creations. Monday night I waited for Bryan to come over with the Mystery Box ingredient. He walked in the door cradling something wrapped in a towel and I was sure hoping it wasn’t going to be a live animal. What was it this time? A tiny baby purple eggplant. Eggplant; another food that I sure do love to eat when cooked well but in past experience in cooking this aubergine, I have found myself unsuccessful. Bitter, chewy, just some of the adjectives that come to mind with my previously cooked eggplants. Within my ten minute research time on the computer I knew what I was going to make with the baby eggplants, and I didn’t even need to get any other ingredients for it. I was going to make an Indian eggplant curry.
I set right to cooking the eggplant knowing that the bitter and chewy tastes of yesteryear were from not cooking the eggplant long enough. I slit them into quarters but keeping them intact and placed them in my cast iron skillet with olive oil and water, covered them and basically let them be for a good 20 minutes, turning them once or twice. In the meantime I made the spice mixture of equal parts cumin, coriander, and turmeric and a good dash of cayenne pepper. I chopped a cup of onions and minced equal parts of fresh ginger and garlic. I also pulled out some chicken from the freezer, defrosted and cubed the chicken. Once the eggplant was soft I removed it from the pan and added a bit more oil and the onions to the pan to get soft. Once soft I added the ginger and garlic and chicken. After a few minutes I added the spice mixture and salt and stirred for about a minute. I then added 2/3 cup of coconut milk to the pan and added the baby eggplants back to the pan to get warm and creamy. I also made a pot of minute rice (no explanation needed). When ready to plate I chose two large bowls, added the rice and topped with the eggplant and chicken curry, trying to keep it presentable.
The results? Fantastic! Bryan said it was his favorite meal yet and after finishing his own large bowl even got seconds. I also thought it was really good. I have been wanting to make a coconut curry for awhile and have had a can of light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s in my pantry for some time now. I was very happy with how it turned out and was really impressed with how easy this one was. It definitely had plenty of flavor and a good heat from the cayenne. The eggplants shone through the sauce and were my favorite part. I would definitely make this meal again and I think that Bryan would be okay with that.