Similar to the original curry baigan and aloo recipe I shared with you guys back in 2009 (time really flies), this one is very flexible and can work as a vegetarian meal or you can add left over stewed meats or pieces of salted cod and take it to another level. With the strong East Indian influence in our culinary traditions, you’ll find than many of the vegetables and ways of cooking is directly related to that connection. This is why you’ll see from time to time I mention names of things you won’t necessarily be familiar with, but I do try to clear things up on such occasions. Baigan is just another word for eggplant and aloo is basically potato. So don’t be surprised to see this dish refereed to as baigan and aloo in some Trinbago restaurants.
1 lb Japanese eggplant (or your fav)
2-3 cloves garlic sliced or crushed
1/4 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (any hot pepper you like)
1/2 large onion diced
1 large potato cubed -chunky
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable)
dash black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
* As with the ingredients listed above, this is a vegetarian dish but I had some left over stewed chicken which I added the last 5 minutes of cooking to enhance the flavor a bit (this is optional). The stewed chicken recipe can be found at: Ultimate Trinbagonian Stew Chicken.
We’ll start by prepping all the ingredients. Peel and dice the onion, slice the pepper and crush or slice very thin the garlic. I decided to leave the skin on a couple of the eggplant for a bit of texture and to get some of that unique sweetness that Japanese eggplant seems to have. The other two I peeled. I then cut off the stems and cut each eggplant into three sections (length) to which I then cut strips, similar to if I were making fries. Finally I peeled, washed and cubed (in chunks) the potato. I used a Yukon Gold variety as I just love the sort of creamy texture of it. But you’re free to use any variety of potato you may have.
On a medium/high heat I heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then add the pieces of sliced (or crushed) garlic and allow that to cook for a couple minutes. You should start getting that wonderful garlic scent and the edges should start going golden. Now add the pieces of eggplant, then top with the onion, pepper, salt, black pepper and potato. Give it a good stir, then add the water. Bring it up to a boil, then lower te heat to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for about 25 minutes with the saucepan covered. Be sure to stir every 7 minutes or so.
You will find that it will start to melt away and turn into a sort of mushy texture… this is exactly what we’re looking for. After 25 minutes, the eggplant and potato should be tender and this is a good time to add any leftover meats you may want to add. If you plan on adding salted cod to this dish, I would add it after adding the garlic and allow it to cook for a couple minutes before adding everything else. If you’re keeping this dish strictly vegetarian, after 25 minutes if you have a lot of liquid left in the pan, turn up the heat and cook it off. You should not se any clear liquid in the finished dish.
If you did add pieces of left over stewed chicken as I did, turn up the heat after adding and cook until any liquid burns off.. usually about 3-5 minutes. Taste for salt as I’m sure your taste is different than mine. Add accordingly.
This goes well with Sada Roti and should be enough for 4-5 people as a side. I was at my sisters restaurant a while back and was quite surprised at how many people came in especially for this… but without any meat and curried as I shared in the previous recipe.
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