We had some family over for dinner on Saturday and so we fired up the tandoor since the weather was so nice outside and plus...barbecued meat! Of course, I marinated my favorite - tandoori chicken. If you missed that recipe, you can find it here. It really is super easy and I marinated it the night before to get all the flavors in. Then on the day of the party, you just skewer the chicken and it cooks in the clay oven in like 10 minutes. Now, if you have been following my journey...I was vegan for a bit and while I missed the protein in my diet and have now introduced it back in, my love for veggies has never changed. So most of my meals will have one meat item and everything else will be rounded out by vegetables. One of my favorite dishes to get at a restaurant is this eggplant curry. Now, I know that there are a lot of people who don't care for eggplant. Honestly, I am probably one of them. However, this recipe calls for roasting the eggplant and then mushing (is that a word?) up the flesh so that it is a smooth texture. I don't necessarily like the eggplant curries that contain chunks of eggplant so this is the perfect dish for me. It doesn't necessarily look the prettiest but man, is it flavorful!
When I was in Charlotte visiting family, my cousin's wife made this for us one day. I have never made it at home as most recipes call for roasting the whole eggplant on a flame and even though I have a gas stove, I also have a tiny condo with three ( I counted!) fire alarms that are very sensitive. Very sensitive...trust me, I know and so do my neighbors above and below me!
Luckily, I have my new bestie, the air fryer! Now I can wrap the eggplants in foil and roast the heck out of them in it. They contain their moisture this way and also doesn't make the whole place hot and smoky. It literally is the perfect way to start off this dish. That and some beautiful eggplant!
So, when I was coming up with a menu, I immediately knew that I wanted to make this dish. I reached out to my cousin's wife and she immediately sent me the recipe that she used. I checked out some other versions and tweaked it to suit my tastes and tailored it to be able to roast the eggplant in the air fryer.
One of the things that I did was cut slits in the eggplant and stuffed them with whole garlic cloves and green chilies. It's a tight fit but totally worth it because by the time that the eggplant is fully roasted, the garlic and chilies are super soft and mash right into the eggplant flesh. It adds a lot of flavor to the whole dish and imparts a lot of flavor in the cooking process. Then coat them in a light layer of oil, wrap in foil and put them in the air fryer! I ended up cooking them on 400F for about 30 minutes. Depending on your air fryer and the size of your eggplants, you may need to decrease or increase that time.
While the eggplant is cooking, you can get started on the curry part of this dish. As with all curries, it starts with some basic ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, spices, etc...
Once that is all happening, the eggplant should be done. Carefully remove it from the air fryer and open up the foil. The skin on the eggplant should just peel right off. I scoop up all the flesh (and garlic and chilies) and put it in a small mixing bowl and mash everything up thoroughly with a fork until it is all one smooth paste of sorts. You can then just add it right into your pan and mix everything up!
Seriously guys, it is super delicious! The best part is that it makes for excellent leftovers because as it sits, the flavors meld together even more. You know how I love my leftovers. If you follow me on Instagram at @themonskerlife, you will see how I use my leftovers to create healthy, low carb, lunch bowls. This one features this delicious eggplant curry:
Doesn't it look scrumptious?? I hope that if you've never cooked Indian food but want to give it a try, that you try and make this one day. As I said, by looks, it may not be the most popular...but one try with some warm garlic naan, and you will be hooked!
1 large eggplant, split down the middle with stem intact
2 green chilies, split down the middle (Thai or a Serrano cut in 4 long slits)
3 garlic cloves, split down the middle
Avocado oil, as needed
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried whole red chilies
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1 Tbsp of tomato paste