Eggplant & Vegetable Curry

 Now that the weather is slowly cooling down I am starting to crave more warming, comforting dishes that will fill my belly up with goodness. For some reason I always crave more carby, naughty things when it gets cold and that is half the reason why I think I look at the scales at the end of winter and see a few extra "friends" joined me over the chilly period. Do you have the same problem?

 I swear not this year. I just lost all my IVF and baby weight and I don't want it to come and join me again anytime soon that's for sure. So I have tried to incorporate warming and comforting recipes into my repertoire that will be kind to my hips this winter period. Enter this curry.....

If you are watching your waistline, going for vegetarian options  help lower the calorie intake of a dish. I try to cook at least one meal a week that contains no meat which also helps our grocery bill costs. I pack my vegetarian dishes with loads of vegetables to make up for the lack of meat. I have been trying to use the produce that we have been growing in our garden and plan our menu meals for the month around what we have growing at the time. These beautiful eggplants I am proud to say are freshly grown from our vegetable patch. I just love the colour of them, don't you? Oh and don't get me started on the beautiful vibrant chillis that we have growing at the moment! Don't worry this curry is not going to blow your head off... unless you want it too. Its up to you if you want to add the fresh chilli's or not. I opted to leave them out in this dish as we were feeding it to our little boy and I didn't want to burn his little taste buds. Can I just say he LOVED this curry all mushed up for dinner and lunch the next day. Winner!

Now a curry probably isn't one of the things would think would be kind to those old hips of yours. The real version of a good curry isn't. It's full of coconut milk, oil and don't forget the sides of rice and naan bread to go with it. All good in moderation but if your watching your waistline then you probably avoid them like the plague (well you should anyway). This curry I have reduced the coconut milk and added more stock and tomatoes to still give it a lovely base. I love a good curry and we probably eat one a month in our house. However I always reduce the coconut milk, reduce the oil and forgo the naan bread to make things a little bit healthier. Poppadoms are a great alternative to use as a "dipper" in your curry as they are made from chickpea flour and are cooked in the microwave. They are not as "bready" as the naan and roti counterparts making them a slightly healthier alternative if you need something to dip into your curry. You can pick them up in your local supermarket under the asian section.

I find flavoursome and spiced up dishes make me feel more satisfied than a bland soup on a cold and blustery day. This curry is full of flavour and a lovely combination of spices to get your belly growling. It may seem a lot of ingredients but most of them are spices. If you don't have the list of spices I have mentioned you can always substitute them with your two to three teaspoons of your favourite curry powder for a more simplified version. Eggplant is the main star of this dish alongside the pumpkin and caulifower. All in season during winter which is always good when trying to eat and buy seasonal produce. I have added red lentils into this curry to give it a bit of substance and bulk which means you don't have to serve it with rice. It's a one pot meal ready to go in under an hour and it will fill your house with a wonderful fragrance as it cooks.

This can be cooked in your pressure cooker, slow cooker or on the stovetop, whatever floats your boat at the time. It is pretty easy to cook and can be done in under a hour. You could substitute the pumpkin for potato or sweet potato and the cauliflower with zucchini or any other vegetable really. You could toss in some beans, snow peas and even some spinach. Play around with it and have some fun.

Roast Eggplant & Vegetable Curry

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6

  • 3 large eggplants, peeled, diced into 2 cm chunks
  • 400g jap pumpkin, peeled, diced into 2 cm chuncks
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • thumb size piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 x fresh chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped, these are optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 500ml -600 ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 165ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 400g tin diced tomatoes
To garnish
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the eggplant into a large glass bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for 15 minutes until beads of water form on the egg plant. Rinse off the salt under water and drain the eggplant.
  3. Place onto the tray and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat the eggplant with the oil. Place the eggplant in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until soft and cooked through. Remove and let cool.
  4. In a large saucepan place the olive oil and red onions. Saute for 15-20 minutes until cooked down to a caramelized consistency.
  5. Add the salt, garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute.
  6. Add in the dry spices and cook for 1 minute or until they become fragrant.
  7. Add the chicken stock, red lentils, coconut milk, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  8. Add in the pumpkin and egg plant and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  9. Add in the cauliflower florets and cook for a further 10 minutes until tender.
  10. Serve with fresh coriander and naan bread or poppadums.
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