My little brother went through a vegetarian phase a while ago. He stuck with it for almost 3 years which is surprising because he loves steak and bread and even to this day is not terribly keen on veg. He lived off soy patties and carbs. Trying to temp with delicious green things, we picked up vegetarian cookbook that incorporates a lot of dairy and eggs into the dishes. Its just a simple book, one of those that is displayed between the set of doors when you enter a bookstore and habitually marked 30% off, but it is a really fantastic book. I've gotten so many ideas for sides, simple lunches, and dinners from it.
I adapted this recipe from the korma recipe in the book. I couldn't find garam masala in NC, so I used what I had which, oddly enough, is whole spices. But the flavor from the whole spices is amazing! I used different vegetables and I made my version a lot less fattening. It is fragrant, hearty, rich, and healthy (my version at least.) So wonderful for a chilly night.
Eggplant and Sweet Potato Korma
1 onion, sliced
2 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste*
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp oil
6 cardamom pods (1 tsp ground)
1 3-inch cinnamon stick (1/2 tsp ground)
1 star anise
1 lrg bay leaf
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
1-1 1/2 C water
2 lrg sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (3/4 inch pieces)
1 med eggplant, cubed (3/4 inch pieces)
1 14-oz can chick peas, drained
1 1/2 C frozen green peas (thawed)
1/2 C low fat yogurt
1/4 C cream
Salt and pepper
chopped cashews and cilantro
Heat butter and oil over med heat in a large skillet. Saute onion until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and all spices. (*Ginger garlic paste is available in Indian markets; it is just equal parts of the two ingredients. Convenient, but you can use 1 Tbsp of each and it tastes the same.)
Add 1 C water and sweet potatoes. Salt and pepper potatoes Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked about half through.
Add eggplant and chick peas. Salt and pepper the eggplant. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Check eggplant after about 5 minutes, if it has absorbed a lot of the water or it has just evaporated, add another 1/2 C.
When potatoes are fork tender and eggplant is cooked, add green peas, yogurt and cream. Heat peas through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with rice and top with chopped cashews and cilantro.
Serves 4. (main dish portions)
Vegans: Considering that the yogurt and cream are added in at the very end just to make the sauce rich and creamy, I see no reason why you couldn't use soy or rice products instead of dairy.