Monday, August 21, 2006

Spicy Chick Pea Stew

This recipe is from a Weight Watcher's cookbook that I borrowed from my parents. They never use it, so I figure they'd never miss it! I did ask for it and I'll happily give it back if they want.

The overall flavors in this recipe are good. Ultimately, I like it. Its just good vegan style eating, which makes Sean a little nervous. I guess I just used the recipe as a guideline, because it seemed off kilter to me. It called for a pound of dried chick peas, cooked, and a whole eggplant. But then it called for a tablespoon each of chopped onion, carrots and celery. Um, what? I love chickpeas, but I thought this recipe could do with a little less of them, and definitely more carrots, onion and celery. In the end, I had to use less chickpeas because as soon as they were cooked, my kids were looking for a snack and I let them eat some, plain, with a little salt. By the time they were done, I had about half of the chickpeas left, which turned out to be just the perfect amount for the recipe.

I think I screwed up the eggplant. I normally like eggplant, but this time it had a slimy texture that really turned me off, so I ended up picking it out. Afterward, I remembered that when I set my eggplant in a colander to drain (like most recipes call for), I forgot to salt it first, so no liquid drained out. Maybe that made it slimy? Or maybe this was just a bad eggplant. I don't know.

Other changes: I added some tomato sauce and extra diced tomatoes, and I forgot to put the peas in at the end, like the recipes tells me to do. I did remember to add them in when we ate this as leftovers.

Spicy Chick Pea Stew

1/2 eggplant, diced
1 teaspoon salt
olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
handful of raisins
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen green peas

Toss eggplant cubes with salt and place in a mesh strainer or colander; drain for 30 minutes. Press out excess liquid with wooden spoon.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add onion, carrot and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally , until vegetables are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds.

Increase heat to medium high; add eggplant. Toss and saute until eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add raisins, cumin and cinnamon; stir well. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and hot pepper sauce; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick, add hot water gradually, until sufficiently thinned.

Add chickpeas and green peas; simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley if desired, and serve over couscous (or rice).

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