Most of the time, I pick out a recipe based on what I already have in my fridge or pantry, but every once in awhile, I see something that looks so good that I end up going on a scavenger hunt in my local grocery store, seeking out some new ingredients to add to my arsenal.
This week, I was looking for something vegetarian and landed on this gorgeous curry recipe I found online.
The only ingredient that stumped me a bit was Harissa sauce, but after a bit of investigating, I found a simmering sauce that was a Harissa-based sauce, so I decided to grab it for my recipe. If you’re like me and have never heard of Harissa sauce before, it’s a pepper-based sauce that is generally spicy, although the one I found was decently mild. If you can’t find it in your local store, you could replace it with another pepper-based sauce like sriracha or tabasco.
I used a recipe from the blog “Vibrant Plate.” You can find the original post at https://www.vibrantplate.com/eggplant-sweet-potato-curry-vegan-gluten-free/. I increased the garlic and switched the directions a bit based on what was easiest for me.
Eggplant Sweet Potato Curry
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion minced
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 rounded teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 eggplant
- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 13.5 ounces unsweetened coconut milk I used the light kind
- 3 teaspoons Harissa sauce
- salt to taste
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
- Prepare the eggplant and sweet potatoes by cubing each into about 1/2-inch cubes. There’s no need to peel the eggplant, but do peel the sweet potatoes.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a deep pan with a lid or Dutch oven and add the onion. Saute until the onions are soft and add the garlic and saute for a couple minutes until it just starts to smell really good.
- Add the cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper and stir. Let it cook in the pan for about two minutes to roast the spices a bit.
- Add in the eggplant, sweet potatoes, coconut milk and Harissa sauce and stir well.
- Put the lid onto the pan and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir again and test the doneness of the sweet potatoes. Keep simmering with the lid on, checking periodically, until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- While the curry is simmering, cook the rice according to package instructions.
- Once the sweet potatoes are done, add salt to taste and serve the curry over top of the rice.
This makes for fantastic leftovers, and the recipe author noted in the post that it freezes well, although our batch didn’t last long enough to find out.
It also didn’t end up being overly spicy. I think I might add a bit more Harissa next time I make it to hopefully increase the spice level a bit, and for those who are looking to incorporate more vegetables without sacrificing flavor, I highly recommend giving this a try.
Plus, it could give you a tour of some new shelves at the grocery store. Who knows what else you might find?
This piece first appeared in print on June 6, 2019.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.