Entries from February 25th, 2013

Heirloom Eggplant Fry with Green Peas & Cilantro

15

25.2.13

Heirloom Eggplant Fry with Greas Peas & Cilantro

 

Sometimes when I look back I am amazed at how my food habits have changed over the years. Today, after blogging here at ‘Love Food Eat’ for almost 2 years, when people write to me about being their inspiration to eat better it makes me so happy. I have a come a long way from eating out all my meals to cooking everything from scratch and this food blog has been a huge influence on my life.

After switching to organic food, the way I eat has changed a lot. The idea of eating out doesn’t appeal to me too much and I have realized the value of everything that is homemade and homegrown. It’s amazing how we spend years complaining about all the challenges we have about making changes in our diet when the solution was right in front of your eyes.

 

Heirloom purple Eggplant

 

I shopped and ate like most people earlier. Super markets were convenient and grabbing a quite bite outside or ordering in was so much easier than even cooking a quick meal sometimes. It really didn’t matter where and how my produce was grown as long as it looked fresh and I never cared about how the food was cooked or what it had, as long as it tasted good. I am glad I don’t think like that anymore.

 Now because I care about the food we eat, I try my best to know the source of everything on my plate. I might not be successful all the time but most of the time it is so much easier than what I thought earlier. It’s like all of a sudden I had opened my eyes to look around me and understood what I was missing all these years.

 

Heirloom purple Eggplant

 

I realized that a lot of my friends and family were into farming and were more than happy to share some food with me if I asked. I got a lot of rice, beans, lentils and peanuts from my aunt’s farm. Another cousin of mine has an organic farm and I get my vanilla and honey from them now.  My own parents grow bananas, coconuts and lots of vegetables which I am making the most of! I am also always on a look out to see what’s in season and where I can go and buy it directly from farmers I know. I now get a regular supply of coconuts and coconut oil (I go through quite a lot) from my hometown now. From past few months my mom also sends me homegrown vegetables and some herbs and greens and it’s such a joy to know where and how my food was grown. It might look strange to epopel that I take the trouble of getting banana’s shipped from my parents’ farm (it’s an overnight bus ride away) when I can easily get it in the shop down the road. This year I am going one step ahead and writing to some of the organic farms I know to see if I can buy some basic groceries in bulk and use them through the year. Persevering food and storing them for later use is something I am currently very interested in. After making a few bottles of  jams and freezing some fruits and vegetables, I also have been sun drying my own herbs this year. I bought a few kilos of fresh tamarind, sundried it and preserved it with salt this year which is something I had never done before. I am looking forward to sun drying so many more things this summer! It’s beautiful how nature has something in store for us every season.

Fresh green peas

 

If you want to make a difference, know your food, know who is growing it and ensure that the money you spend on it goes directly to the farmer, all I want to tell you is that it’s not so hard. Buy local and seasonal and if you have the time definitely look into preserving a little in whatever way you can. Even the smallest effort you make will make a big difference to you, you family and the farmers.

Now coming to todays’ recipe, these little purple eggplants were sent to me by my mom with other homegrown veggies a couple of weeks ago. Since I am a big eggplant lover, I was instantly smitten by the appearance of this heirloom variety. These are not too long or too round like the regular eggplants. Thanks to them being homegrown, they were all very tender and fresh. I immediately knew I had to blog a recipe using them.  I paired them with some fresh green peas, which is another vegetable I am having a strong love affair with right now. I thought the slightly bitter fleshly taste of eggplant will work well with the mild sweetness of fresh green peas. Instead of using cilantro as a herb, I have used it almost like a vegetable here. The recipe calls for quite a lot for cilantro and it’s the main flavor of the dish. Other than that I am trying to keep the flavors simple here with very little spices used.

 

Heirloom Eggplant Recipe

 

This kind of recipe is my idea of fast food now. It doesn’t take more then 15 minutes from start to finish as both eggplant and peas don’t take much time to cook. I ate most of it by itself, like a warm Indian curried salad but the right way to serve it would be with some hot rice and simple dal or with some roti/chapathi or any flat bread.

The pairing of the vegetables and the herbs and spices worked very well here and it’s something I will cook often considering how much peas I have frozen this year. Make it yourself for a weeknight dinner and let me know what you think!

 

Green peas

 

As I have mentioned earlier I have cut down on the number of posts on this blog. I am a lot more active on my Facebook Page though. Like ‘Love Food Eat’ on FB or follow me on Twitter or Instagram for all the latest updates form my kitchen. I share lots of food photos and quick recipes/tips there so you are assured your dose of healthy food there ;)

 

eggplantwithgreenpeas_2

 

Notes:

You can use any variety of eggplant here.

Frozen green peas work great instead of fresh green peas.

You can increase or decrease the amount of chili powder used depending on how hot you like you food. Go ahead and add cumin, coriander or gharam masala powders if you enjoy more.

Other than serving as a side dish, you can use this as a stuffing in sandwiches and wraps along with some salad leaves and raw vegetables.

 

Heirloom Eggplant Fry with Greas Peas & Cilantro

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of sliced eggplants
  • 1 ½ cups of fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp red chili powder
  • salt
  • ½ cup of roughly chopped cilantro

 

Slice/cut the eggplant into 1 inch pieces and place them in plenty of water with a pinch of salt. Let it soak and drain the water just before you cook it. This step makes sure the eggplant doesn’t turn dark and also gets rid of it’s mild bitterness.

Heat oil in a pan. Crush the garlic a little and add it to the hot oil. When it turns golden, add the fresh peas and eggplant.  Toss everything well and let it cook in high heat for a couple of minutes. Now season it with salt, turmeric, red chili powder and reduce the flame, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Keep checking to make sure it’s not burnt. Water from the eggplant should be sufficient but if it looks too dry or if the spices are getting burnt, sprinkle some water and continue to cook. When the eggplant and the peas look cooked, add the finely chopped cilantro and turn off the heat.

 

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