Indian-Inspired Eggplant and Beets over Rice

I realized last week that I hadn’t cooked from my favorite Indian cookbook for a while, so I dusted it off and started looking. I knew I had an eggplant in the refrigerator and went straight to that in the index; only to find that the most promising looking recipe would take about a century and a half. Each ingredient was individually sauteed and then combined, heaped on half-cooked rice, and baked for forty-five minutes. I wanted dinner, not lunch for next week! My compromise: take the list of ingredients (with a few tweaks), combine them in a one-dish prep, and cook the rice separately. Serve together. I thought it tasted great and was just as good the next day, but if you do happen to have a couple of decades to spare, feel free to look up the original recipe. It’s probably even better.

Indian-Inspired Eggplant and Beets
loosely based on Parsnip, Aubergine & Cashew Biryani from India’s 500 Best Recipes

1 medium eggplant, diced
1 large beet, finely diced
2 T oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 t. cumin
1 t. coriander
1/2 t. chili powder
small handful almonds
small handful raisins
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper
fresh cilantro
cooked brown rice to serve
Heat your oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the beets and cook a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add the onion, stir a minute and then add the eggplant. When these are almost cooked, scrape them to one side of the pan and toast your almonds on the other side. Meanwhile, add your garlic, spices, and raisins to the eggplant mixture. When the nuts are toasted, add the yogurt and stock to the vegetable side, then stir everything together. Sprinkle on cilantro to taste and serve over rice. Enjoy your pretty pink dinner.
Recipe comments: If you don’t feel up to coordinating your nut toasting with the speed at which your veggies cook, feel free to do them separately. I’m just too lazy to wash another pan.

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