This is the easiest method to smoke something. I learned this method from Sanjeev Kapoor’s new book, How to Cook Indian (scroll to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a signed copy of the book!).
I was intrigued by Sanjeev Kapoor’s koyla (charcoal) chicken recipe in the book. He makes a chicken curry and then smokes it by placing a bowl with a smoking hot piece of charcoal in the curry. The smoke gets into the curry, making it all smoky and wonderful. I’ve adapted Sanjeev Kapoor’s smoked chicken curry by using eggplant and creating a great vegetarian smoked eggplant curry recipe.
How to smoke the eggplant curry
Heat charcoal till its red. Then put it in a small bowl, and place it over the curry.
Pour a little oil over the hot coal. The coal will now give out smoke, that will flavor the curry.
Cover the skillet to trap the smoke. Let it sit for a few minutes so that the smoke infuses the eggplant curry.
When choosing charcoal, make sure you buy all natural charcoal. Don’t buy anything that has chemicals or petroleum added to it or is ‘self igniting’.
Watch Sanjeev Kapoor making his smoked koyla chicken curry. His method of smoking and my adapted recipe will work well for zucchini curry, mushroom curry, or use paneer or mock meat in this recipe.
Smoked Eggplant Curry Recipe
vegetarianized from Sanjeev Kapoor’s Koyla Chicken recipe from his book, How to Cook Indian
3 medium tomatoes
6 whole cashewnuts
1 tablespoon butter, ghee or vegetable oil
½ lb American or Indian eggplant
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon or to taste, chili powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice, you may need more or less depending on how tart the tomatoes are.
For smoking the curry
1 lump of charcoal, about the size of a large lemon
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Boil a medium pot of water, and drop the tomatoes in whole. When the tomato skins start to blister, drain them and let them cool a bit. Then peel the tomato skins and discard. Core the tomato. Place the skinned, cored tomatoes in a blender along with the cashew nuts and puree. Set this aside.
Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes. I peeled the skin first, but that’s optional.
Heat butter, ghee or oil in a medium skillet. Add the eggplants, and let them brown a little on medium-high heat, about 4 minutes. Then add ginger and garlic. Stir on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala and chili powder and cook another 30 seconds.
Pour in the tomato puree and salt. Boil for 7 minutes or till the eggplant is cooked and the sauce has thickened a little. If the sauce gets too thick, sprinkle some water over it.
Turn off heat. Taste the curry and add lemon juice, if using.
Now comes the fun part – smoke the curry!
Hold a piece of charcoal, using tongs, over an open flame. You can do this on an open gas flame, or an outdoor grill. Heat it till it becomes red hot. (Be careful, the hot coal may give out sparks, turn on your ventilator or exhaust). Now you need to work quickly. Place the red hot coal in a small bowl.
Immediately place the bowl inside the skillet with the eggplant curry. Pour the oil over the coal, so that it smokes. Quickly place a lid over the skillet. Let the smoke from the charcoal infuse into the covered curry for about 6 minutes. The longer the charcoal bowl sits in the skillet, the smokier your curry will get.
Remove the bowl from the skillet, and discard the charcoal. Serve the smoked eggplant curry with rice, roti or naan.
Win a signed copy of Sanjeev Kapoor’s new book,
How to Cook Indian!
This book has more than 500 classic Indian recipes for the modern kitchen.
To enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment below and tell me whats an Indian dish you havent tried at home yet, but would love to try and make.
Giveaway ends Friday June 3rd 9pm EST. One random winner will be picked.
I will ship anywhere in the world!
I met Sanjeev Kapoor at a book signing, and had an extra copy signed just for this giveaway. The signature says “Veggie Belly Reader, Happy Cooking! Sanjeev Kapoor ”