Welcome to my No Judgement zone. I am about to tell you about a recipe I made on Saturday. I am not a food blogger as you may have noticed from my blog. I am not a food photographer, as you may have noticed from the above photos. While I was making it I wasn’t even thinking of posting but when it was done I thought there might be some other thirtysomethings like me (or whatever your age is) that are really making a concerted effort in trying to eat healthier because we know that it is the right thing to do. Our bodies should not have to suffer because we (I really mean I) have an addiction to fried chicken. LOL. So, what have I decided to do? I am reducing my meat/chicken/pork intake. I am not making any commitment to a complete life of vegetarianism. However, for now, I am not eating that stuff. It’s been about two weeks now (at the time of writing this original draft), aside from the time that this elderly lady gave me some goat meat (mutton) to eat (even after I told her I am not eating meat). I ate it out of respect, but she gets the point now.
So, when you are not eating meat you have to be creative with your food. Now if you don’t know, one of the best meat substitutes in vegetable land is eggplant. It is very fleshy and has the consistency of meat. So, if you like eggplant, find 50 ways to cook it and you will not give up in the beginning stages of your food journey if you happen to have started one. What I made above was a spin on what I would imagine Baingan Masala may probably taste (I watched Youtube videos to get some ideas) and some basmati rice. Now, I am not a fancy cook that goes through a million steps to create one dish. I hope this is not an offense to any food experts/lovers/connoisseurs out there but I simply cannot be bothered. The fewer steps I have to take the happier I am.
So the food in that pic, it may not be the best photo but it tasted pretty good and I figured I would share. I am so sorry, there are no measurements with this because I don’t cook with measurements and I couldn’t begin to tell you how much each item I used other than to say a little or not too much of this or that. You will have to use your own common sense or ask a food expert in your home. This is just a guide. You don’t have to follow it exactly. Come up with your own thing based on taste and possible allergies. I have pictured below some of the specific items I used. The rest are common ingredients…. I think, lol.
Ginger (powdered ginger or grated ginger)
Tin Milk (not too much, wash as you are pouring)
Peanut Butter (about a teaspoon if making for one)
Tamarind Jam (about a teaspoon if making for one)
Goya Adobo (sprinkle to taste)
Goya Sazonador Total (sprinkle to taste)
Accent (a dash)
Hot Pepper Sauce (Optional)
Five Spice (a dash)
Tandori Massala (about a teaspoon, this adds the color)
Chopped Fresh Tomatoes (I used one small tomato)
Vegetable Oil (or oil of your choosing)
How I did it:
I poured a little oil in a pan. I used vegetable oil because that is what I had. I put a little of the chopped garlic in it allowed it to cook on medium-low fire for about a minute then I added eggplant that I chopped into cubes (make sure it is dry so you won’t get oil in your eye). I sprinkled some of the Adobo on it and a little of the Five Spice, and Tandoori Massala and allowed it to char. When you char vegetables it adds more flavor to the finished dish. You could have also grilled the eggplant to achieve that nice char taste. Once it is charred I transferred it to a dish and in the same pan I added oil again. This time a bit more. I added my chopped onions and allowed it to simmer down a bit (if that’s the right term), then I added all the ingredients to taste (meaning how much I thought would suit my taste), except the eggplant and allowed it to simmer down until my tomato has a stew type consistency (if that makes any sense). It needs to form a sauce almost. Oh, btw, when you add the tin milk, just add a moderate amount and stir as you are adding. You don’t want it to clump up. At this point, I add the eggplant and let it cook in the mixture. After I add water so it covers the eggplant. As it cooking I stir occasionally and check the taste and make the necessary adjustments. Again, this is to your taste. Depending on what tastes you want to be more pronounced. Be careful with the Adobo though. It’s best to add less of the salty items and then add more as you go along than adding too much and then having to manipulate the pot to adjust the saltiness. If you cook the eggplant too much it will get mushy and this will defeat the purpose of the meaty taste you want. I cook on medium-low heat until it gets to the consistency I am comfy with, which would mean that the skin of the eggplant is not too chewy. Then turn it off and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes and absorb all that flavorful goodness. Start cooking the Basmati rice if you haven’t cooked it already. Be careful with this rice because it cooks fast. If you are not familiar with how to cook it, you can Youtube it. Then you find a nice dish, put the rice in it and then add the eggplant dish. This recipe tasted really good and is one I will return to quite often on this journey.
Have you ever tried it? Do you plan to try it? Let me know. In addition, if you do need specifics then leave a comment below and I will l try to clarify anything that you may be confused about. Bon appetite!