Today's post is about one of my favorite vegetarian curries. It is full of soft potatoes, tender green peas and melt-in-your mouth eggplant. So delicious! This curry is typically made on special occasions like weddings, prayer services and Diwali. I think you cannot have a wedding without this curry. Really you can't. Think there is some unofficial law against it. Funnily enough, in my own Indian wedding I did not get to eat this special curry until everything was over. My husband and I ate lunch with the priest after our ceremony. The priest does not eat potatoes so the three of us were not served this curry out of respect for the priest. I was trying to be bridal and so I wasn’t sure how to bride-ily (this is a word right?) ask about where the curry was in a demure, bridal manner. I was extremely disappointed. Also, didn’t help that we were fasting until the ceremony ended. Anyways, long story short, I ended up having this special curry for dinner that night along with pooris and all the other delicious curries my mum and nani had cooked in the morning (we all had been up since 5am). So it totally made up for the missing curry during lunch. Did I mention, I am grateful to be born in a family of great cooks?! Yummy fate!
Just so you know, you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to make this curry. Anytime is a good time! So let's talk about the peas. We used dried green peas for this recipe from…you guessed it…the Indian grocery store. But you can totally use frozen green peas for this. If you do, let me know how it works out! You can also leave the peas out and just make a potato and eggplant curry. This is not a dry curry and the eggplant helps to create this delicious gravy that you can dip pooris in and eat over rice. Yummy! You can either soak the peas overnight and use them the next day right away or soak overnight and boil them the day you need to make this curry. Goal is to reconstitute and soften the dried peas before cooking. The potatoes should be largely diced and the eggplant should be cut into sticks (like carrot sticks).
The other ingredients are the standard ingredients mum uses in her other recipes. As I mentioned before, I am amazed at how many different types of curries can be made with the same flavor base. The other thing I love about mum's curries, is how relatively quick and easy they are to make. Amazed! Flabbergasted even!
The rest of the steps are simple. Cook the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, onions, ginger, garlic and chilis if using. Add and cook turmeric and garam masala.
Then we add the peas and cook until they are half cooked. Best way to test would be to pull out a couple of peas (not just one) and smush them to check doneness. If peas start to brown before cooking, add a splash of water and turn heat to low and allow peas to cook. Salt should also be added at this point.