Every week, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.
Today: A weeknight meal inspired by a trip to the Indian market.
We eat a lot of Indian food in my house. While it used to be our indulgence to order takeout from down the street, I started cooking traditional Indian dishes for dinner about a year ago. The spices, herbs, and vegetables available at our local Indian grocery are fun to play with, and once you buy them, they seem to stick around for a while.
This recipe features green chickpeas, which you can find frozen at Indian markets. However, canned green chickpeas (rinsed, drained, and patted dry) would work well here, too. Baby eggplant are often available at markets like these, and they feel festive as we gear up for the eggplant harvest of summer.
The chickpeas, fried alongside the eggplant, become so addictive and crispy, you might just want to eat them on their own. Together with some agrodolce goodness, the chickpeas and eggplant taste delicious sandwiched with torn pieces of naan. The yogurt sauce is quick to whizz up in the blender, and even quicker to disappear on your plate. If you want to bulk up the dish even more, simmer a side of basmati rice -- you won’t want to waste any of the sweet-and-sour sauce from the eggplant.
10 baby eggplant (about 1 pound), quartered lengthwise with stem intact
1 cup fresh chickpeas (thawed from frozen + patted dry), or canned
6 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
3/4 teaspoons garam masala
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves (about 1 packed cup)
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
1 fresh green chile, seeds removed if desired for less heat
Warmed naan, for serving
As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way.
Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute™ Meals grew into a cookbook that was published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.
Photo by Caroline Wright