Seared Curried Eggplant with Spicy Yogurt Sauce

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2 eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
kosher salt
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder, toasted
2 teaspoons chile paste
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
Spicy Yogurt Sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon ground toasted cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chile paste plus additional, as needed
soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil

To prepare the eggplant, salt the slices and let drain on paper towels for about 10 minutes. Put the vinegar, garlic, ginger, and shallots in a medium bowl and stir. Add the oil and coconut milk and whisk to mix. Add the curry, chile paste, and cilantro and mix well. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and pour the marinade over it. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Put the garlic, ginger, and yogurt in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat until smoking hot. Add as many eggplant slices as will fit in the pan without overcrowding. Brown the slices well on both sides until the eggplant is tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and place in the oven to keep warm, then repeat with the remaining eggplant. If needed, add the remaining oil during the cooking process.

Place the eggplant on a serving platter, drizzle with the sauce, and serve.

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