Sunday Night Surprises.

Sometimes, you have one of those nights where you chuck whatever is in your fridge into a saucepan, and something wonderful is born. This was one of those nights. I can't claim most of the credit - the key ingredient in this recipe is the punjabi masala on Show Me the Curry. I made this up a couple of months ago (although I halved the recipe) and I'm discovering that I adore having it in the freezer - it's a fantastic base for a quick meal.

I had some eggplant, red capsicum and cherry tomatoes that were getting a bit old (left over from pizza adventures) and I always have tinned tomatoes and cous cous on hand. Throw in some of your favourite spices, and there you are. I'm not sure you could reasonably call it authentic Indian - it's more like Indian meets Italian - but it was pretty dang tasty either way. So tasty we nommed it before I remembered to take a photo. This post is brought to you by public domain images of eggplant!

A Sort of Eggplant Masala (serves 2)

You will need:

Olive oil
1 small eggplant
1 small red capsicum, finely diced.
1 punnet of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.
1 tin of tomatoes
1/2 cup punjabi masala1/2 cup water
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp ground coriander (or a bit more, to taste)
1/2 tbsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp dried chili seeds (or more. I'm a bit of a wimp)
1/2 cup dry cous cous
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tsp butter (optional, vegan without)
Fried shallots, to serve.

You will need to:

Cut your eggplant into thin strips, about 3cm by 1cm. Toss in olive oil, and lay on a well oiled baking tray. Salt generously. Grill for about 15 minutes on medium high, or until golden brown, but not charred.

Heat a non-stick saucepan or frying pan. When hot, add mustard seeds and dry-fry for a minute or so.

Add the (defrosted) masala, the capsicum, and the cherry tomatoes. Stir together and fry for a further few minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, spices and water. Simmer for about ten minutes, until thickened.

Add the eggplant, and cook together for about five minutes. Adjust the spices and seasoning to taste.

Prepare your cous cous by adding the boiling water, covering, and letting stand for five minutes. Stir through the butter.

And serve with fried shallots. It makes for a rather nice Sunday night.

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