Friday, May 8, 2015

Vegetable Vindaloo

Aloo baigan in Vindaloo masala

Vindaloo curry is a staple on the menu of British Pubs and most Indian restaurants in England. Vindaloo is a hot and spicy curried dish available in various incarnations—pork, beef, chicken, lamb, (pork being the standard). The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish Carne de vinha d'alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India (Goa) in the 15th century along with Portuguese explorers (source).

As the Portuguese—and their culinary contributions—were assimilated into the Goan culture, the Goan influence began to be evident in the vinha d’alho, with the addition of potent chilies and various spices, including ginger, coriander, and cumin. In the absence of the wine-vinegar, the more local ingredient - tangy tamarind, came to the rescue. The current version of the dish reflects its evolution, resulting in a fiery, tangy concoction containing some combination of garlic, chilies, coriander, cumin, onion, tomatoes, ginger, peppercorns and tamarind. Other ingredients that may typically be found in vindaloo masalas include tomatoes, cardamom, mustard seed, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, fenugreek seed, and cloves. Some recipes call for the addition of a small amount of brown sugar, for a touch of sweetness to counterbalance the tartness provided by the vinegar. (source)

Keeping up with the theme of the vindaloo spice paste, here is another lip-smacking vegan and a vegetarian version. Use this recipe with any vegetable you want. I chose eggplant for their meaty texture.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
7-8 small Indian eggplants
2 potatoes
2-3 tbsp Vindaloo paste (Recipe)
2 tbsp oil
1 small red onions
4 cloves garlic
Thumb size piece ginger
2 tomatoes
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander to garnish

  1. Quarter the eggplants and peel and slice potatoes in the same shape as the eggplants. 
  2. Prep other ingredients. Chop the red onions finely, grate or crush the ginger and garlic, puree the tomatoes. 
  3. Heat oil in a large pan and add the onions. Fry stirring often till they start to turn golden. 
  4. Now add the crushed ginger and garlic and cook till the raw smell of garlic goes away. Add the crushed tomatoes. 
  5. Cook till the tomatoes are fried well and the mixture starts to leave oil on the sides. 
  6. Add the vindaloo paste and mix well. You can add some salt to taste. 
  7. Add the cubed eggplants and potatoes and mix gently to incorporate the flavors into them. Stir for a minute or two. 
  8. Add 1/2-3/4 cup of water and mix. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 5-10 minutes till the potatoes and eggplant are tender and cooked through. 
  9. Assess the quantity of water in the dish and adjust it as per your desired consistency. Boil off if too liquid, add some more if too dry. I make it fairly dry as I like to pair this dish with roti. If you want to serve rice with it then add more liquid. 
  10. Remove from heat and sprinkle fresh coriander. Serve hot with roti for a deliciously satisfying meal.

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