foodie fridays: eggplant and tofu curry

{Guest post today! Please welcome Jamie Gibson from Meet the Gibsons. Jamie is a vegetarian who frequently posts Meatless Monday recipes. Enjoy!}

Hello Mountain Climbers!

I’m so excited to guess post for Miss Lauren today! She told me that she wanted something vegetarian and of course thought of me, her favorite vegetarian. I only wished she’d been closer at hand while I was cooking. You see, I can cook, but my photography skills are lacking. But even though you won’t be seeing the yummy food photo’s that make you drool like you usually see here on Grier Mountain, I promise this dish tastes sensational.

Let’s start out with the vegetable of the day: the lowly eggplant. Although eggplants are often snubbed for more familiar veggies, they make a great addition to any meat-free dish! They are low in calories and chock full of nutrients, but have sort of a meaty texture. The flavor is rather bland on it’s own, but it will easily take on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with, making it a very versatile ingredient.

Eggplant is best as an ingredient in Eggplant Parmesan, Baba Ghanoush (my husband thought I made this up, but it is real, and it is delicious), and ratatouille (the meal, not the mouse). There a number of ways to prepare it on it’s own; baking, grilling, and frying. A favorite method of mine is to roast it in a bit of olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Simple and delicious.

An essential piece of knowledge about your eggplants that you must know is that they do not store well. You will want to buy your eggplant the day you’re going to use it.

Case in point: I bought the two Japanese eggplants called for in the recipe on Saturday at the farmer’s market, intending to make this dish the same night. Things came up and by the time I got around to making the recipe on Monday, my beautiful little eggplants had gone to mush.

I ended up having to run to the grocery store where all that was available was a globe eggplant, the most typical kind of eggplant available in the US. Although the Japanese eggplants typically have a thinner skin and more delicate flavor, the glob eggplant worked just fine as a substitute.

The skanky Japanese eggplants are on the left.

Eggplant is a common ingredient in curry dishes. This particular curry is jam packed with all kinds of veggies, plus tofu for a big hit of protein. I promise you won’t even miss the meat.

Enjoy!

Curry Power!

Eggplant and Tofu Curry

Serves 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic
1 3- inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
1 14-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
2 Japanese ( or 1 globe) eggplants, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
12 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and patted dry
3 cups spinach
Salt and Pepper to taste
Brown rice for serving

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, puree the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and 1 tablespoon water in a mini food processor until a paste forms.

Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice. Coarsely crush the tomatoes in a separate bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the eggplant to the pot. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic-ginger paste and cook, stirring 2 more minutes.

Add the curry powder and tomatoes (but not the juice) and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the tomato juice and 1 cup water and cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and tofu; simmer until the eggplant is very tender, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with a salt and pepper. Serve with brown rice.