Monday, November 10, 2008

Fakeout Takeout: Crockpot Eggplant and Pea Curry

It is finally crockpot season out in the PNW, especially now that it only ever seems to rain. It had been awhile since I made Indian, and I had been itching to use my new digital crockpot which we received as a wedding gift and try an eggplant and pea curry from the cookbook "The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Recipes from Around the World."


1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated or finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon ground turmeric1 tablespoon ground paprika
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 large eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro for garnish

Combine the coriander, cumin, and cinnamon in a mortar or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds. Add the spice mixture, turmeric, paprika, and pepper flakes and stir foe 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until some of the liquid evaporates.

Transfer the mixture to a blender (or use an immersion blender in the pan) and puree until almost smooth.

Place the eggplant at the bottom of the slow cooker and pour the pureed vegetables over the top. Stir gently.

Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, until the eggplant is tender. Stir in the peas during the last 15 minutes of cooking and season with salt to taste.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro.

Serve over rice with naan bread.

Cook's notes:
1. I know the combination of spices makes it a true Indian dish and that Indian cooks don't use curry powder, but using curry powder instead of running around the bulk spice bins at QFC would have made the dish a bit easier and saved a few bucks. And considering how I don't grind my own coffee and therefore do not have a coffee grinder. I tried to use a cup to grind the spices but it was a pain in the butt. Eventually I just used some ground cinnamon and left the seeds whole. Also, I used fresh tomatoes but didn't bother to peel them.

2. I've mentioned this before, but I hate having to COOK my food before putting it in a slow cooker. Doesn't it defeat the purpose of a crockpot? You should just be able to dump everything in the crockpot (once chopped, of course) and let it cook. or just cook everything on the stove.

3. It turned out kind of bland and made a ton. Mr. Snowgoose was nice about it but I could tell it wasn't his favorite, yet his still was willing to take leftovers for lunch.

Would I make this again? No. Would I recommend this to you? Heck, no.

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