Burnt Eggplant and Chickpea Tomato Curry

This recipe is basically a combination of three different preparations, cooking the chickpeas, burning the eggplant, and making the curry. It evolved precisely because I had leftover chickpeas and was trying to think of a new different way to use them. The result is a complete and solid dish, I will regularly return to during eggplant season.

Soak the chickpeas in salted water overnight. Boil in plenty of fresh water until tender, time will vary depending on quality, but you will need at least 60 minutes. Alternatively of course you can use pre boiled canned chickpeas.

Heat well a non-stick pan, add just a bit of oil, enough to barely cover the surface, and evenly scatter a few pinches of salt. When smoking hot place the:

  • Eggplant, cut in quarters lengthwise and then in 2,5 cm long pieces

in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan, flesh side down and allow them to effectively burn on the surface, you want a dark brown colour. Add a bit more oil and repeat on the other flesh side. This should take 2 - 3 minutes if the pan is properly heated, oiled and salted. Remove on a plate.

For the curry (I give quantities for 2 small eggplants and 2 cups of cooked chickpeas), in a pan saute over medium heat:

  • Onion, 1 small pc, finely chopped

  • Garlic, 1 medium clove, finely chopped

  • Red Chilli, 1 pc, deseeded, finely chopped

After a few minutes, add:

  • Red Curry Paste, 2 tbsp (I used store bought here)

  • Curry powder, 1 tbsp

  • Smoked Paprika, 1 tsp (this will vary depending on the strength of your spice, so taste and adjust)

and mix well to coat everything evenly. Deglaze with:

  • Red Wine, 1/4 cup

and add

  • Tomatoes, 4 pcs, grated

  • Sugar, 1 tsp

  • Salt, 1/2 tsp

and the chickpeas. Simmer gently (you will probably need to lower the heat), until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Add the eggplants and

  • Coconut milk, 1/2 cup

  • Basil leaves, 4 pcs, hand torn into smaller pieces

stir well, and let it bubble away for a few minutes. Taste, and adjust salt. If it feels a little blunt add a few drops of lime juice.

Non vegans, add some crumbled feta just before you turn heat off, mix well and allow it to melt form the residual heat in the pan.

Garnish with fresh herbs, parsley or coriander would be my choice here and serve plain or with rice.