I discovered this wonderful curry recipe when I was living in the far north of India, in a mountain town called Shimla, high up in the Himalayas. The smell of this curry seemed to float on the air every night, particularly during winter when it can get quite cold and snow can fall.
Make a double batch of this curry and store it in the freezer so you always have it on hand. I think it tastes better after a day or two when all of the flavors have blended together.
It is also wonderful served chilled during the hot, summer months.
Serves 4 hungry cricket fanatics (the National game of India, the West Indies and Australia.)
¼ cup peanut oil
¼ tsp ground Asafetida from spice store
1 ½ teaspoons whole Cumin seeds
3 whole dried, hot red chilies
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
¾ pound of red potatoes, with skin, washed and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
¾ pound of eggplants, cut crosswise into 1 ½ inch chunks
¼ pound large white mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters to match the size of other vegetables used.
½ tsp ground Coriander
1 stick Cinnamon, broken into 4 parts
2-3 tsp ground Turmeric/Curcumin
5 fresh curry leaves (use Holy Basil as an interesting substitute)
1 cup tomato puree
2 ¼ tsp sea salt
¾ of a well-packed cup (around 3-4 oz) of finely minced, fresh Cilantro - use the leaves, stems and the even the roots
2 ¼ cups (one 20 oz can) drained chickpeas
- Add the peanut oil into a large, wide pot and set over high heat. When hot, put in the Asafetida and the Cumin. Let them sizzle for no more than 10 seconds.
- Add the red chilies. As soon as they swell and darken (in just a matter or seconds,) add the crushed garlic and the chopped potatoes. Stir and fry for just a minute.
- Add the eggplant chunks. Stir constantly for 2 minutes on medium flame or heat.
- Add the mushrooms. Stir-fry for one minute.
- Add the Curcumin and the ground Coriander. Stir once and add the tomato puree and 5 cups of pure water (never tap water, always cook and drink pure, filtered water!)
- Add the sea salt, Cinnamon sticks, curry leaves, Cilantro and lastly, the chickpeas. Bring to a light simmer, never let it boil.
Cover, turn down the heat to low and cook gently for 35 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not too soft. Enjoy!