Vegan Eggplant Tikka Masala
1 small (1 lb.) eggplant, stem removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. grated peeled ginger
1 Serrano chile pepper, seeds removed, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground fenugreek*
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ to ½ cup coconut cream, such as Trader’s Joe’s Coconut Cream**
2 cups prepared basmati rice
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped green onion
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• Place the cubed eggplant in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil and the salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread the eggplant cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then toss the cubes and roast another 10 to 15 minutes, until the eggplant is golden and tender. Set aside.
• Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a large nonreactive bowl. Using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes to break them up. Set aside.
• Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and Serrano pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, stirring to coat the onion mixture. Add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and fenugreek. Stir often, until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stirring to combine. Add the sugar and the eggplant and stir again. Reduce the heat to simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and ¼ cup coconut cream, and simmer 1 minute.
• Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more coconut cream if desired. Serve hot over the basmati rice. Garnish with the cilantro and green onion.
* Available at Penzeys Spices, 7338 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.781.7177; 246 THF Boulevard, Chesterfield, 636.778.1129, penzeys.com
** Available at Trader Joe’s, 48 Brentwood Promenade Court, Brentwood, 314.963.0253, traderjoes.com