Curry used to be one of those foods that intimidated me because I had no idea what it was! Let me break it down for you. It’s sautéed vegetables with coconut milk, cumin, turmeric, and coriander. Seriously that’s it. Even curry paste is optional to create your favorite curry but feel free to add it if you like spicy food! Once you have the base, you can mix in anything you want – like chickpeas and eggplant to create my favorite curry: $2.25 and 45 Minute Eggplant Curry. Your perfect curry is less than $3 and an hour away!
Ingredients (~4 Servings):
- 1 white or sweet onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 15oz cans of chickpeas, drained
- 1 large eggplant, salted and chopped
- 1 13.5oz can of coconut milk
- 1 TBSP turmeric
- 1 TBSP cumin
- 1 TBSP coriander
- 2 TBSP of grapeseed oil
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cayenne or 2 TBSP of curry paste (optional)
- Parchment paper
- Baking tray
- Paper towels
- Chef’s knife
- Medium prep bowl
- 10″ non-stick sauté pan
- Spoon or spatula for mixing
- Pre-heat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice eggplant into ~1/2″ discs, salt one side and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Chop onions and garlic and place them in the medium prep bowl.
- Open up the cans of chickpeas and coconut milk.
- Using a paper towel, wipe the salt/water off of the eggplant discs.
- Chop the eggplant into cubes, place them on top of parchment paper, add some more kosher salt and the put them into the oven for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
- Heat up the sauté pan to medium (~5 out of 10) and add ~2TBSP of grapeseed oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic (just like you’re making $2.50 and 60 Minute Acorn Squash Bowls!) and cook until they start to brown (~3 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Add coconut milk, and chickpeas and stir to combine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to unstick any stuck spices. Bring to a simmer (~3 of out 10) and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Mix in eggplant with the chickpea mixture, stir to combine and enjoy!
Total time = 45 Minutes (15 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to cook)
Step 2 – The purpose of salting the eggplant is to dry it out so that it will not disintegrate or taste slimy when mixed in with your curry. Personally, I think it adds a delicious, almost-cheesy taste to the final product. Some argue that salting removes bitter liquid from the eggplant but this is not a controversy that I will wade into here. The goal of this step is to dry out the eggplant – if it removes any bitterness as well that’s even better!
Step 4 – When you open up a can of coconut milk, it is often separated into two parts. There is the thick, solid, white cream on top and a clear-ish liquid below. I recommend carefully transferring the contents of the can to a bowl and then mixing it with a fork to combine. When I accidentally forget to do this, there is a minute of furious stirring to combine the separated coconut milk after it’s been poured into the onion mixture. It’s far from the end of the world, but just mix it beforehand to eliminate that minute of unnecessary stress.
Also, I drain the cans of chickpeas by opening up 99% of the lid and then holding it closed with my finger while draining the liquid into the sink. (Tangent: If you even see the word “aquafaba”, that’s what bean liquid is called. “Aqua” for water, and “faba” is a type of legume. Don’t worry, I’m sure this will come in handy someday.) The chickpeas can be dumped straight from the can into the curry.
Step 5 – Check out the eggplant salt pictures below. This is the eggplant upon salting (time = 0 minutes). Notice you see only salt:
Below is the eggplant after 10 minutes! Look at those water droplets!
Step 6 – If lining the baking tray with aluminum foil, toss the eggplant in a little oil to prevent it from sticking.
Step 10 – The curry is delicious on its own and also great served over rice with a side of $1.75 and 30 Minute Saag Paneer!
- 1 white or sweet onion ~ $0.75
- 5 cloves of garlic ~ $0.50
- 2 15oz cans of chickpeas, drained ~ $2
- 1 large eggplant, salted and chopped ~ $1.50
- 1 15oz can of coconut milk ~ $3
- 1 TBSP turmeric, cumin & coriander ~ $0.75
- 2 TBSP of grapeseed oil ~ $0.25
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt ~ negligible
Total Cost per recipe ~ $8.75
Cost per serving (~4 servings) ~ $2.25
A healthy diet is a diverse diet. This curry is a great way to try out some ingredients/spices that you don’t eat every day – I don’t know about you but eggplant isn’t one of shopping cart staples… So next time you’re strolling through the produce section at the grocery store on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and the eggplant bin has just been restocked, grab one or two that look good and try out this recipe! You’ll be glad you did!
As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!