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I love leftovers day! Last week was Pongal – the harvest festival of India which is celebrated all over the country with different names. We pay tribute to farmers, nature and to the Sun god. We prepare lots of food with new rice and fresh lentils. The quantity of the dishes made for this festival wasn’t too much though (in fact they were perfect for two people) but the number of dishes guaranteed leftovers for the weekend.

I had Rasam (a healing lentil broth), dahi vada (fried lentil fritters in a spicy yogurt dip) and lemon rice (exactly what it sounds like). I had to make rice to go with rasam and I always accompany my rasam rice with a dry curry, I don’t know any other way of eating it! Before head to the actual recipe of my favorite way of eating Eggplant, here’s a flashback alert!

When I first shopped for veggies after moving to the U.S, I was quite surprised to see our good old bharta baigan (the large eggplant) sitting smugly in fresh produce area. In Indian households, we use this large eggplant, char it over the gas stove and prepare a smoked, tangy and spicy curry out of the pulp called baigan ka bharta (trust an Indian curry to infuse all these flavors into one single dish!)

Funnily, I LOVE eggplant but baigan ka bharta is the only form I won’t eat eggplant in. Something about the smokiness in it doesn’t appeal to me but don’t let this stop you from trying it, the next time you feel like eating Indian on a Saturday night! Coming back to my excitement when I saw eggplant in grocery stores here, I got myself one and prepared my favorite dish out of it that believe it or not is NOT Eggplant Parmesan!

Here’s how you prepare my slow roasted Eggplant curry, a 100% vegan, healthy and delish option:

Ingredients:
– Cubed eggplant
– Vegetable/Olive oil: 2-3 tbsp
– Cumin (optional): 1 tsp
– Salt to taste
– Lime juice: 1 tbsp

Homemade spice mix:
– Rice flour/Corn flour: 3 tbsp
– Paprika powder: 2 tsp (use according to your spice tolerance)
– For my Indian readers, add 1 tsp of Aamchur powder instead of lime juice (dry mango powder)

Method:
1. In a heavy bottomed pan, add 2 tbsp oil. After the oil is heated, add cumin and wait for it to sputter.
2. Add Eggplant and give it a quick toss. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the eggplant roast on low heat until it looks semi-mushed. Don’t add any water to cook it faster or close the pan with a lid. We want the eggplant to maintain shape.
3. At this point, add salt to taste and let it roast for 1 minute more.
4. Mix all the powders of the spice mix in a bowl and sprinkle it evenly over the eggplant.
5. Toss everything again and drizzle 1 tbsp oil over the curry. Toss it again and let the curry absorb the spice mix on low heat.
6. Turn off the heat after 10-12 minutes, add the lime juice and mix it well!

Enjoy it as a snack or with some hot rice. Get creative and add it on top of your lentil soup instead of your regular bread croutons or make a spicy yogurt dip out of it, there are so many ways to use this curry! I enjoyed it with a hot rasam rice and it was divine, I needed that to start my weekend right! FYI, you can do the exact same procedure for a slow roasted potatoes and zucchini as well, say whaaaaat!?

Madhu Narayan
Guest blogger, Plant Life Meals