It took me a long time to appreciate eggplant, and in the past if I saw an eggplant recipe in one of my cookbooks I would quickly turn the page. For one thing, I didn’t really know what to do with it, since most recipes seem to encourage cooking it in copious amounts of olive oil, or smothering it with pounds of cheese.
But through the years my food curiosity, combined with a few very satisfying experiences worked to change my mind about this humble vegetable, and now I seek eggplant recipes out. It really helps when you come across a recipe like the “Tamarind Eggplant with Bell Peppers & Mango”, page 328.
The bold flavors of tamarind, chile, mango, and cilantro liven up this dish, and the finished “stew” is delicious served over grains or noodles. I went with brown rice udon noodles, giving the presentation an Asian persuasion.
This is a one-skillet stove top dish that comes together very easy. Onion, eggplant, and peppers are cooked in until soft (no oil necessary, even though the recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons - just a little broth or sherry will do the trick). A little more cooking after adding tamarind paste, fresh orange juice, and mango, and that’s about it! I liked the bright and vibrant colors, the fresh flavors, the creamy texture of the eggplant combined with the crunchier texture of the bell peppers. If you’re not sure you like eggplant, this recipe would be a good one to experiment with.
The recipe calls for three small Asian eggplants, but I couldn’t find any that day, so I used one medium size regular eggplant. I also didn’t have access to tamarind paste, so I used the substitution suggestion in the recipe notes, a combination of lime juice and brown sugar.
Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
- Instead of using oil to sauté the vegetables, use a nonstick skillet with a small amount of water, broth, or sherry.