Spicy Eggplant and Bean Stew

by Linda on May 1, 2012

I cheated again. But it was worth it. The bean stock base makes this both really healthy and really satisfying, and (without going all Masterchef) it has some lovely complex flavours.  Beans are so high protein, and complete protein when they are combined with a grain, that even regular meat eaters feel like they’ve had a real dinner.  And they’re low GI, high fibre, full of vitamins and minerals.

The thing I am finding about the  Tuesday Night Vego Challenge is that the range of healthy, from scratch, vegetarian dinners you can make in half an hour is much bigger if you put a bit of pre-thinking into it.  Proving dough, soaking beans, salting eggplant all take only minutes to do, but you have to do them ahead of time.

This dinner came together in half an hour, including the naan bread to go with it.  But I put the beans in water to soak, the eggplant salted, and the naan bread dough proving before I left for work in the morning. All very fast easy morning jobs, and they meant that when I got home I could just put it all together.

The Recipe:

Makes three adult serves.  Leftovers are even better the next day.

In the morning:

  • Soak ½ cup white beans.
  • Chop a large eggplant (or the equivalent in small eggplants) into 2 cm dice, put in a colander, and sprinkle with a heaped spoonful of salt.

In the evening:

Drain the beans, add 2 cups of fresh water and a good pinch of salt, and pressure cook for 8 minutes or simmer for 25 minutes until they are very soft.  Then blend the beans in the cooking water to get a smooth liquid bean stock.

While the beans are cooking:

Prepare Dry Spice Mix:

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dill seeds

Prepare Wet Spice Mix

Use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to blend to a paste:

  • Thumb sized piece of fresh turmeric (or substitute a teaspoon of dried turmeric)
  • Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 medium hot chilis (more or less to taste)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
Chop the Vegetables:
  • 1 onion, finely sliced into half moons
  • 1 capsicum diced
  • 1 large eggplant chopped into 2 cm dice, salted and rinsed.

In a large heavy pot:

  • Fry the dry spice mix until the seeds are popping.
  • Add the wet spice mix and the rinsed eggplant, capsicum and onion.
  • Cook on high stirring for a few minutes to seal and coat the vegetables in spices, then add the bean stock along with a good dessertspoon of tomato paste and two kaffir lime leaves (or substitute juice of half a lime and a little grated zest).
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is cooked.
  • Serve in bowls, over rice or with naan bread. Fresh coriander makes a nice garnish.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz May 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Oh yum – that looks fabulous. I’ve been really enjoying bean dishes lately and this one looks a good combination.

Barbara Good May 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I love this dish, might try it next Tuesday to use up some of my eggplants.

Hope you don’t mind me joining in on this tonight. Here my post, http://thenewgoodlife.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/tuesday-night-vego-challenge/.

BTW, I’ve been really enjoying looking around your blog and go back over some of the archives.

celia May 2, 2012 at 9:06 am

Sounds very exotic, Linda, especially with all those spices. I love how eggplant seems to soak up all the different flavours. We’ve just bought a kaffir lime tree (we’re replacing all the apple trees – we’ve finally decided they’re just not going to thrive here in Sydney).

Lara May 2, 2012 at 10:39 am

This looks amazing! I made your Chili Con Kanga last weekend for a dinner party. It was wet & raining, it was the perfect meal with a bit of sour dough. (I did add a bit of morroccan twist to it with some spices and preserved lime)
Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

Linda May 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Apples don’t do it here either, even the tropical varieties. And I doubt it’s going to get any better. Even a couple of degrees of difference in temperatures is going to stop them getting the chill factor they need. Kaffir lime though does very well, and finger lime and Tahitian lime. And it’s so handy to have kaffir lime growing and be able to just pick a couple of leaves when you want them.

Sarah May 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I’m in the process of migrating my blog from blogger to wordpress, so I don’t have a link today, but we had udon noodles, pumpkin, green beans and fried tofu in miso soup. So yummy.

Linda May 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I go through periods of being totally addicted to miso soup. Must be some nutrient in it that I really need, specially if I’m a bit stressed. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I have a craving for it.

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