Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nutty Eggplant and Potato Curry

The Spice of Vegetarian Cooking
Martha Rose Shulman
Healing Arts Press (1986)
ISBN 0892813997

Martha Rose Shulman is one of my favorite vegetarian cookbook authors. A friend introduced me with the gift of The Vegetarian Feast. Then I got Fast Vegetarian Feasts, which is certainly on the shortlist for my desert island cookbook list. Mediterranean Light, along with the beautiful little books Main-Dish Salads and Main-Dish Soups, are also on that list. The other two Main-Dish books, Grains and Tarts and Gratins are well thumbed but not as well used as the other two. I got this book expecting to like it a lot—vegetarian and spicy, "ethnic recipes from India, China, Mexico, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe"—these are things that are usually very popular round our house. But I've never found a recipe here that really appealed.

Having a bit of an Indian itch, I turned to this book for a curry dish. But I can't say we were very pleased with it. There's a similar sort of recipe, Neela's Eggplant and Potato, in Madhur Jaffrey's old World of the Easy Vegetarian Cooking that is lightyear's better.

Nutty Eggplant and Potato Curry begins by roasting an eggplant and steaming some diced potatoes while the eggplant roasts. Then you sauté some onion, garlic, and ginger in butter. After a few minutes, stir in some curry powder. (Of course, no matter how good your curry powder is, this is a clue that the recipe is going to be short on real flavor.) Continue sautéing for a good long time, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes total.

Now stir in the potato, the eggplant (removed from skin and chopped), some raisins, and some peanuts (Shulman also suggests almonds or sunflower seeds, but I think cashews should have be better still) and cook another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, take off the heat , and stir in a cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt.

I'll give this book at least one more try, but I have a suspicion it might be one that ends up on the recycle stack when my cookbook shelf space becomes critical.

This is another post linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays. I'm having fun with my using-unused-cookbooks challenge!


  1. It's a shame that this book has disappointed you, but so pleased that you are having fun dipping into all those books you haven't used so much.

    I love the idea of an eggplant and potato curry, and have a Mark Bitman recipe that I often use - I must check out Madhur Jaffrey's recipe.

    Thanks for joining in again at Cookbook Sundays, and sorry that you had a bit of trouble linking up.

    Sue xo

  2. I'll make something else in this book before I give it up. It's a bit puzzling, since I'm a big fan of some of her other books.

    Bittman recipe in How to Cook Everything (Vegetarian)? I'll look. Jaffrey's is good, but it can't hurt to have more good recipes.

    The linky thing was weird. It took over 10 minutes to appears, whereas in the past links have appeared instantly.

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  4. @Sue, I made another dish from this book last night, but didn't take any pics, so didn't make a separate post. I doubled the spices since it looked a bit wimpy to me, but it turned out pretty good -- another variation on the broccoli-for-dinner theme. We like broccoli here.