Oh Little India, the loving nickname given to the town in New Jersey where I grew up. There is a main street that over the years transitioned from the typical American shops like Sears, Blockbusters, and Dairy Queen to Patel's Cash and Carry and Moghul Express. I bring this up because even though I grew up surrounded by Indian food and many Indian friends, I did not start enjoying and craving the cuisine until maybe two or three years ago.
I like food with spice and some kick to it. I find that Indian-inspired food is relatively easy for me to make, considering that I have access to many Indian products from the markets that are located in my town.
I got the inspiration for this dish after eating at an Indian lunch buffet recently. They had made an eggplant dish which I have not come across before in Indian restaurants. And honestly, I have felt like experimenting with cooking eggplant more and more recently. While, I cannot remember exactly how that eggplant dish tasted (which means that I will have to make a return trip to that restaurant for lunch some time soon) I decided to improvise using what few memories that I have and my spice collection. Overall, I am happy with the result.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
1 large eggplant
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 6-oz can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
(all spices should be adjusted to taste)
Bake an eggplant in the over for an hour at 375° F. I kept it simple, I just washed the eggplant, left it whole, and then put it on a cookie sheet in the oven.
After an hour, remove the eggplant from the oven and cut it into pieces, removing the skin as you go.
Heat the onion and garlic in a large pan until soft. Add the pieces of eggplant, tomato paste, about a 1/2 cup of water, and the spices. Mix throughly and for 20-30 minutes until the eggplant reaches the desired softness.