Recipe: Spicy Peanut Stew With Ginger and Tomato

I originally found this recipe in the NY Times, from Terry Hope Romero (co-author of Veganomicon, where it also appears in a slightly different form). I have made it several times over the past few months and has quickly become one of my favorite recipes.  I have made a few changes which I find makes it a bit more of a complete meal.

1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

3 teaspoons Garam Masala

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

4 tablespoons peanut oil

1 medium or large yellow onion, chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 to 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced

1 large carrot, chopped

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 small (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably roasted

4 cups vegetable stock or water

1/2 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter (creamy or chunky)

1 cup chopped green beans

1 can of your favorite beans (I prefer garbanzo or mixed beans)

1 medium-size zucchini, 6 to 8 ounces, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced 1/2 -inch thick

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)

1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish

Cooked rice, for serving

Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish (optional).

1.In a colander, toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt; set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain well and set aside. In a small bowl, if you don’t have garam masala, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne; set aside.

2.In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and fry, stirring often, until soft. Add eggplant. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

3.Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger and chilies and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Add carrot and cook about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

4.Add diced tomatoes, stock or water, eggplant, onions, beans and a sprinkling of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot soup, and stir until emulsified, then pour mixture back into soup.

5.Reduce heat to a simmer, add zucchini and green beans, cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Let cool slightly and taste; add salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with rice, garnished with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings.

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