Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Roast Eggplant "Paneer" "Curry" & "Tandoori" Chicken

Roast Eggplant "Paneer" "Curry" & "Tandoori" Chicken:
with so many quotations marks, I should just call this something else entirely, right? ;)

(Yes, I am a self-confessed quotation mark addict. "Bisteeya", "Caprese", "Singapore Noodles", "Clafouti", "Streusel Brittle", "Duck Coop Pie", "Beignets", "Fish n' (Banana) Chips". Etc. Etc. Etc.)

A long, long while ago, I read something in the paper about Bal Arneson and her cookbook, Everyday Indian: 100 Fast, Fresh and Healthy Recipes . As the title suggests, the premise of the book was that one can make these updated, modern Indian dishes easily and quickly. When I saw the book being sold at Costco with a very agreeable price, I went ahead and bought a copy.

nice colors!

We happened to have some eggplants lying around, so the "Baked Eggplant with Paneer" seemed like a good recipe to start with. Instead of baking the eggplants and heating up a large oven, I decided to keep the heat to a small area and roasted them over a burner.

After peeling them and mashing them, I was ready to start. I measured out my spices, and prepped the onions and ginger.

I didn't actually have garam masala on hand, so I made my own ghetto version with some cumin, coriander, black pepper, and a touch of cinnamon. The recipe also called for turmeric, so I added that as well.

I started by cooking the onions and ginger, then it was just a matter of adding the rest of the ingredients: tomatoes, spices, and green chili pepper. They cooked for a bit, then the "paneer" went in at the last minute.

Yes, as you can see, that is not paneer. We had these mini bocconcini, so we used those instead.

As promised, this dish did come together quite easily and did taste very light yet filling.

We decided to go with our Indian theme and marinated some chicken in our butter chicken marinade, since I've heard that the marinade is the same as for tandoori chicken.

Although, thinking about it, I just realized that it's the tandoori chicken marinade that can be used to make butter chicken, but not necessarily vice versa.

Oops. I guess I really do need to use those quotations marks around "tandoori"! Especially since, of course, we did not use a tandoor as well!

In any case, my marinade consisted of yogurt, lemon juice. garlic, ginger, onions, my ghetto garam masala, and some salt and sugar. But, I think the butter chicken recipe needs to be a post for another day.


We grilled the chicken and, even though they look scary now all covered in yogurt like that, the yogurt eventually fell or "burned" off during cooking. Oh yes, as you can see, we didn't bother with the red coloring.

And that's it! Grilled quote-unquote tandoori chicken, with a roast eggplant quote-unquote paneer quote-unquote curry. With some rice, it made for a mighty nice, easy, "Everyday Indian" meal.

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Baked Eggplant with Paneer
from Everyday Indian: 100 Fast, Fresh and Healthy Recipes

4 eggplants
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cups cubed tomatoes
1 green chili, finely shopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cubed paneer, panfried

Preheat oven to 350F. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Peel off the skin and mash the eggplant gently with a fork.

Place the oil, onion, and ginger in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, green chili, garam masala, turmeric and salt, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Gently mix in the eggplant, reduce the heat to very low, and cook for 1 minute.

Mix in the paneer, cover the dish, and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.


  1. Looks delicious... and is it wrong that when I saw your pic of grilled eggplant, I just wanted to reach out and dip it in scrambled eggs? :)

  2. Love that whole use what you have thing you've got going on with this.

  3. My first love being all things Indian, I'm drooling all over this dish. I love it when improv turns out so well. Bocconcini standing in for paneer? Brilliant stuff!

  4. I love Indian food, very very much!

  5. all the "things" i love in one "plate"!! me too i love quotation marks !!lol!! that eggplant salad is so inviting its perfect with anything grilled!!sarap!!

  6. I thought it was going to be comples but it's not!

  7. just got back from india 7 hours ago, and i could say i'm not a fan
    of indian food. we love tandori chicken and some spicy wings we ate, the rest seems to taste all the same.(two week tour) and i am not coming back either.they do have eggplant rattatoiule ? sp. in one of the restaurant and they were to die for.this doesn't sound indian food
    but have you ever heard of that? having been there they are very creative
    with their dish coz they mosly thrive on vegetarian dishes. of course i have 2 cook books to read.love your site so much......

  8. Joelen:
    Haha... Hey, it's never wrong to want some
    tortang talong.

    "Ha" ha, it's good to "find out" there's another quotation-mark "lover" in the world! ;D

    Ratatouille is a French vegetble stew, though I'm not sure if what you had is a traditional one or perhaps an Indian-influenced one.

    Thanks for the visit.

  9. There's nothing ghetto about making your own garam masala... it's the only way to do it :-)

    My wife commented the other week that I've never cooked eggplants for her so I've got this recipe bookmarked and ready to go. Thanks!

  10. Jon Jennings:
    Hope the dish works out for you! Oh, my version of garam masala is ghetto because I don't even know if my blend of spices is close to people's "real" versions. ;)


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