Sweet and Savory Curry Spiced Eggplant

  • 1 eggplant sliced into ½ to ¾ inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Seasoned flour for dusting
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs mixed with ½ cup panko
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 cup minced onion, finely chopped*
  • 2 tsp smart balance*
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger*
  • 4tsp finely minced garlic*
  • 8 tsp of curry spice*
  • 2 tsp lime juice*
  • 2 jalapeño or other hot chile finely chopped (leave the seed and membrane in if you want extra heat)*
  • ½ cup orange juice and ½ cup spicy V-8 juice
  • 1 cup vegetable nage*
  • 1 cup coconut milk*
  • 1 cup cilantro*
  • 12 oz plain yogurt*
  • Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Rice for serving

To prepare the eggplant, clean the skin (or remove if you like) and slice. Place an absorbent towel on a cookie sheet or baking pan large enough to accommodate the slices in a single layer. Sprinkle salt liberally on the bottom. Place the slices on the salt. Sprinkle to tops liberally with salt and cover with absorbent towels. Allow to sit for an hour or so; the salt will draw out moisture and you may need to replace the towels. Remove the salt from the pan and eggplant and replace the towels. Moisture will continue to wick away from the vegetable over the next several hours. To prepare the curries, get two medium saucepans. Divide all ingredients marked with a “*” in half; half will go in one pot with orange juice, the other half in a pot with the V-8. Put the following into each pot: smart balance (or butter) and onions. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add ginger, garlic and curry spice. Cook for another minute. Add lime juice, hot chile, nage and coconut milk. To one pot add orange juice, to the other the V-8. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about half. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Prepare two bowls, each with one half the yogurt and cilantro. Strain each mixture into one of the prepared bowls and mix. Salt and pepper to taste. For the eggplant, set up a three step breading station: 1 bowl with seasoned flour, next bowl with beaten eggs and final bowl with breadcrumbs and panko (I use homemade breadcrumbs from stale sourdough baguette mixed with Emeril Creole spice). Dredge the eggplant in flour and shake off excess, dip in egg and shake off excess, place in breadcrumbs and shake off excess. Place in olive oil heated medium high in medium saucepan. Cook until, as Alton Brown says, GB&D (golden brown and delicious) on both sides. I served this over Chinese Emperor (black) rice in two small servings. Ladle the curry over each grouping of eggplant and rice.

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