This week I had tons of fun leading a class through a Pan-Asian vegetarian menu. As part of The Doctor’s Spicebox healthy cooking class series, I presented the ways varied cooking techniques and flavors can make vegetables exciting. In my class, “Veggie Love: Asian Flavors,” we explored techniques from massaging kale to roasting, and spices and flavors from asafetida to miso, with many more in between. It was a tour of East and South Asia without leaving the kitchen!
I had great fun putting together the menu. One of my favorites was this recipe for baingan bharta, or Indian spiced roasted eggplant. Indian cooking seems mysterious and complex to those who don’t cook it normally, but really, it just takes getting to know Indian spices. This dish has 6 different spices, but don’t let that put you off– the recipe walks you through the steps on how to prepare them to bring out their flavors. In the end, you’ve got an incredibly flavorful dish, with a tiny fraction of the fat and sodium you’d find from your local takeout.
So if it’s getting chilly where you are, this is a great time to fire up the oven to roast some eggplants, and warm yourself with Indian spices. Enjoy!
And if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, join me for my next class! Less than 2 weeks from now, I’ll be hosting “Extreme Makeover: Thanksgiving Edition” on Wednesday, November 5 at 6:30 PM at the Palo Alto Adult School. You can register here. I’d love to share with you my flavorful twists on the classic Thanksgiving sides you love, revamped to be lighter, tastier and more exciting. Everything but the turkey!
And if you haven’t already, please visit The Doctor’s Spicebox on Facebook and give it a “Like”!
I am very grateful for your interest and support.
To Your Health!
This is a classic Indian dish of roasted eggplant cooked with tomatoes and spices. The slow roasting of the eggplants makes for a “meaty” vegetarian dish. You will find that this is much less oily than versions served in restaurants, but definitely not lacking in flavor, with 6 different spices.
1 Eggplant (about 2 lbs)
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tsp asafoetida
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large tomato, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Wash and dry eggplant. Cut in half lengthwise and place, cut side up, onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use a paring knife to cut deep diagonal slices into the flesh, but not through the skin, of the eggplant halves. Repeat at a 45 degree angle in the other direction until you have diamonds. This is what I mean:
3. Brush each eggplant half with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle on a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork, and the eggplant loses its shape
5. Use a spoon to scoop out the roasted eggplant flesh and put it into a bowl.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan over medium heat and add asafoetida, cumin seeds and mustard seeds until they start to pop.
7. Add finely chopped onion, ginger and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened.
8. Add tomatoes and cook until soft. Add salt to taste. Now add cayenne, curry and garam masala powder and sauté for 2 minutes until well combined.
9. Add additional 1 tablespoon of oil and then the reserved roasted eggplant and mix well for another 3 minutes.
10. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or roti.
13 g carb
8 g fat
2 g protein
8 mg sodium
7 g sugar