Here’s another one of the dishes my mom would prepare when we were kids which we refused to eat. Her way of getting us to eat it was to cook it without the curry and add leftover stew chicken, pork or beef near the end of the cooking process. Today when she visits I get her to make it several ways.. curry, without curry and I still love adding leftover stewed meats. My dad, the saltfish king that he is only likes this if there’s pieces of salted cod added near the end. According to him, this is the ONLY way this dish should be made.
This version is completely vegetarian, but feel free to add any leftover stewed (Caribbean style) meats you may have in your fridge. Also remember that if you’re looking for a truly unique twist to this, do as my dad would recommend and add some strips of dry salted fish. All you’ll have to do is soak the dried saltfish in hot water, then drain/rinse, shred and add to the pot about 5 minutes at the end of cooking.
1 eggplant (baigan) about 1-2 lbs – peeled and cubed
1 small onion diced
2 cloves crushed
3 tablespoons water
3 small potatoes cubed
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon green seasoning (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
1/4 hot pepper (habanero, scotch bonnet or chilli)
* I”ve also seen people prepare this dish without peeling the eggplant. Personally I find that the skin causes the finished dish to be over-powered with the flavour of the eggplant.
Start off by peeling and dicing the eggplant and potato into cubes (set aside in a bowl). Then peel and slice the onion, pepper and crush the garlic.
Pour the oil in a fairly deep saucepan and heat on medium to high heat. When the oil is hot add the curry powder and stir for about 3 minutes, then add the onion, garlic and hot pepper. Allow this to cook for another couple minutes, then add about 3 tablespoons of water and using a spoon try to scrape the pot so the bit of cooked curry will release from the bottom of the pan. When this dries back down (see image below) start adding the cubed eggplant, potato, salt and black pepper (add the green seasoning mix at this point as well – optional). Then reduce to the lowest setting on your stove with the pot covered. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on things. It will release some natural juices which should be enough for it to cook without burning, but if you notice that it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, it means that your heat may still be a bit too high… add a few tablespoons of water and place the pot on a smaller burner where the heat will be lower.
Allow this to cook for about 25 minutes or until the potato is fully cooked and the eggplant starts to dissolve and marry with the potato. Though not the prettiest looking dish, it’s packed with flavour and quite tasty when paired with roti, fry bake or any type of flat bread you may have.
I believe the word “baigan” is Indian in origin and it made it’s way to the Caribbean with the indentured workers that came to the Caribbean in the 1800’s. Do leave me your comments below.