Swahili Mchuzi wa Biringani (Aubergine Curry)

Biringani is the Swahili word for “aubergine”, also known as Eggplant (North America), Guinea Squash, Garden Egg, or Brinjal (India).  Originally native to Asia, it’s been a long-time staple part of the diet in Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa.  This dish is a common dish along the eastern coast of Africa.

Swahili Mchuzi wa Biringani (Aubergine Curry)

Swahili Mchuzi wa Biringani - Aubergine Curry Watermarkedcooking oil (amount and kind to taste; I use virgin coconut oil)
1-2 onions, chopped
1-2 tsp. Curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Grated ginger
1-2 hot chili peppers, cleaned and chopped (optional; if you don’t wish to handle fresh hot peppers, add your favourite substitute)
1-2 large aubergines, or several small ones; chopped, lightly salted, and squeezed to partially remove moisture
3-4 potatoes, chopped (these add a silky texture)
2-3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (fresh & blanched, or tinned)
1-2 finger-lengths of tomato paste (optional)
salt, black pepper (to taste)
1 C. Milk, coconut milk, or yoghurt

Heat oil in a large pot. Sauté onions for a few minutes, then add curry powder, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Continue frying over high heat for a few more minutes, stirring continuously.

Add aubergine and potatoes. Stir and fry until the aubergine begins to brown. Reduce heat. Simmer for ten minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste. Adjust seasoning. Simmer until sauce is thickened and everything is tender.
Stir in milk, coconut milk, or yoghurt just before serving.

Serve with Chapati or Rice.

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Tea Bag Tatziki Sauce

Tzatziki SauceThis past week I made Chicken Masala (I won’t put a recipe here as I used a pre-made sauce; if I make it again from scratch, you’ll be the first to know!), and as a great side dish, a cool, refreshing bowl of Tatziki Sauce.  The secret to this sauce is a no-brainer:  1 bag of peppermint tea.  Just the contents, no water, no bag.  Most people don’t always have fresh mint on hand, though they might have mint tea bags; they are made of straight-up, dried mint leaves, they store well compared to the fresh product, and are the perfect spice for this dish, already crumbled as finely as any spice in your cabinet.  If you have fresh mint, adjust the amount to taste.  So without further ado:

 

Tatziki Sauce

1/4 cucumber, finely diced

2 C. plain yogurt (any kind will do; use Greek yogurt for a thicker sauce, or add a bit of stiff sour cream)

1 lemon’s juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 bag of mint tea – rip open and pour in the contents

a dash of two of dried dill, or 1/2 bunch of fresh dill, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced

For garnish:  Finely chopped greens from a spring onion

 

Prepare the ingredients as above, and mix all together except the garnish.  Chill until ready to serve, sprinkling the garnish atop the sauce.  This goes great with any spicy Indian or Middle Eastern dish.

Tip:

If your meal is a spicy one, have a few boiled eggs on hand for your guests; they’ll take the sting out !