Friday, 16 September 2011

Chickpea, eggplant and chili curry with oranges and pomegranate seeds on couscous



Thesis? Check. Sort of. It is in the hands of my noble committee. I looked at the date today and realized the past 7 days have gone by and I do not really remember them. I am moderately to highly concerned that my thesis may not make that much sense; it is as if a muse took over my body for the past 5 days and wrote my thesis for me. I hope it did a good job because the brain that is in my head right now does not feel like a very rational one. I had serious insomnia all week, not the kind where you want to sleep but cannot because you are stressed or wired. But the kind where sleep just does not feel like something that belongs on your check list of things to do. It makes me wonder why I sleep so much at all. But I digress.

The last couple of days I took time to make delicious chickpea curries. The rain has returned and so hot comfort food is back on the menu. I have to admit that, before Wednesday, I have never made chickpeas not from a can. I feel like if you want to be serious about cooking you should not buy things in cans. The key is to try one thing at a time and I am starting with chickpeas. I bought a big bag the other day, soaked them all over night (not really considering how much they would grow) and ended up with about 6 cups of chickpeas to use.



The 13th Ave Coffee House in Regina makes the best bowls of stuff; stuff that vegetarians dream of like curry sauces, exotic spices, melodies of grains and fruits and vegetables. I love that place, but it is in Regina and I can't say I know of anywhere in Vancouver quite like it. I often dream of this one bowl, called The Sunshine Bowl with brown rice, chickpeas and a fruity-ish curry sauce with cucumbers and tomatoes.

The recipe below was inspired by The sunshine Bowl although it is nothing like it except that it has the element of citrus and chickpeas and curry which I love all of. And eggplant. Tell me something that does not taste delicious with eggplant.



Chickpea, eggplant and chili curry with oranges and pomegranate seeds on couscous

Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 onion 
  • 1 japanese eggplant cut into 1/2 moon sections
  • 1 Thai Chili finely chopped
  • 1 - 4 tbsp chili garlic sauce (depending on the brand you use)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk 
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp honey (agave or maple syrup for vegans)
  • Lemon juice or lime juice
  • Orange juice (fresh from the orange sections below)
  • Water
  • Chopped baby tomatoes
  • Orange juice and orange sections
  • 1/2 pomegranate, seeds
  • Cilantro 

Directions
  1. Saute onion, garlic and chili on medium high heat for 5 minutes in 3 tbsp canola oil. 
  2. Add eggplant and saute until brown. 
  3. Add tomato paste, chili garlic sauce and spices and saute about 1 - 2 minutes. 
  4. Add coconut milk and water to thin out to desired consistency. 
  5. Season to taste with honey, orange juice and lemon juice. 
  6. Stir in chopped baby tomatoes until heated through. 
  7. Serve with couscous (see below) and top with orange sections, pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

Note: I actually grilled my eggplant for 5 minutes on the George Foreman after tossing in oil instead of sauteing it in the pan (I find it gives the best texture to eggplant but I'm sure sauteing is fine) but next time I would do it differently and add the eggplant, once grilled, with the tomatoes at the end so they don't get too mushy.

Couscous Ingredients
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp canola oil

Directions
  1. Bring water, containing spices, to a boil. 
  2. Take couscous off of heat, quickly stir in couscous and cover for 10 minutes. 
  3. Stir in oil and fluff with fork.

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