Eggplant and Chickpea Curry

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry

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Finally (boy, I just can’t shut up), I really need to point out that you can get all of the essential ingredients at almost any supermarket, but if you have an Indian grocery store nearby, you’ll be able to find asafetida and ginger paste there.  Neither is a necessity, but I find the ginger paste to be a big time-saver, as well as a recipe-saver when all my fresh ginger root seems to have become dried up, gnarled, and downright scary in my fridge. You’ll also find fresher garam masala in an Indian store than you will in a supermarket, but not as fresh as if you make it yourself; see the end of the recipe for ingredients before you head out on your shopping trip. Prick eggplant with a fork several times and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until eggplant is sunken and soft all the way through. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop the eggplant flesh. Heat a non-stick skillet and then spray it lightly with vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn golden. Add the bell pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Clear a spot in the center of the skillet and sprinkle the cumin seeds directly on the hot surface. Stir and toast them for about a minute, until they become fragrant. Stir them into the onions and peppers and add the coriander, turmeric, asafetida (or garlic), tomatoes, ginger paste, and red pepper. Add the eggplant and cook over medium heat, pressing eggplant with the back of a spoon to break up large pieces, for about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and enough water or chickpea cooking liquid to keep the mixture moist, cover tightly, and turn heat to low.

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