Eggplant, Tomato, and Chickpea Curry with Chickpea Rice Flatbread
July 22, 2015
I’m excited about this post for a bunch of reasons. First, I love the fact that a single recipe turned into two while I was preparing this dish. To make a long story short, I had eggplant and tomatoes on hand yesterday, and I thought that I’d put them together in a summery curry dish. I was super happy with the results, but I realized that I didn’t have anything handy to scoop up the fragrant broth at the bottom of each bowl. I usually serve curries over rice or quinoa, but since Steven is a huge fan of naan, I thought I’d make something that, while decidedly not naan, is great for scooping and soaking.
I have a feeling that these simple chickpea and rice flatbreads (which I debated labeling as pancakes instead of flatbreads–I think they’re sort of a hybrid) are going to be a staple for us. They’re so easy to prepare, and the batter can be mixed up to a day in advance. The recipe is loosely inspired by a chickpea crepe recipe from Myra Kornfeld’s wonderful cookbook, The Voluptuous Vegan. I used rice flour in place of all purpose, and I added both cumin and chopped parsley for extra flavor. The resulting flatbreads definitely aren’t as delicate as crepes, but they’re sturdy and have a great, chewy texture.
This dish is easy to make in advance, and like most curries, its flavor seems to deepen over the course of a day or two . I had leftovers for lunch today, and they were fabulous. Because the curry has all of that delicious, aforementioned broth, I actually mixed in some of my leftover quinoa today as well. It turned into a thicker curry, almost a stew, and though different from the original dish, it was also really tasty.
It’s ideal to try the curry now, while eggplants and tomato are both in season. But even after fresh tomatoes become more scarce, the dish will work with canned tomatoes as well (I usually use fire-roasted, canned tomatoes from the Muir Glen brand).
I recommend playing around with the spice combination, adjusting the quantities a little to fit your tastes, and even adding different veggies, if you like. I’d love to try adding potatoes.
Eggplant, Tomato, and Chickpea Curry with Chickpea Rice Flatbread (Gluten Free)
Yields: 6cups curry, or 4-6 servings; 8 flatbreads
For the Curry:
2teaspoonsolive or coconut oil
1medium sized white or yellow oniondiced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2teaspoonsalt, or to taste
1medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7-8 cups, or 1 - 1 1/4 pounds)
3cupsbeefsteak or Roma tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups, or 1 pound--alternately, you can use 2 cans of diced tomatoes, draining some of the liquid beforehand)
1 1/2cupscooked chickpeas, or 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2cupslow-sodium vegetable broth
1/2cuploosely packed, chopped parsley or cilantro leaves (for topping)
For the Chickpea Rice Flatbread:
1cupbrown rice flour
1/4cupparsley, finely chopped
To prepare the curry, heat the olive or coconut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook the onion until it's clear and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Continue cooking the garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until it's very fragrant. Stir in the cumin, curry, turmeric, garam masala, and salt, as well as a few tablespoons of water, to help mix everything together and create a kind of slurry.
Add the eggplant, tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Cover and cook for fifteen minutes. Uncover the curry and cook it for another 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and the eggplant is melt-in-your-mouth soft. Check the mixture and adjust seasonings to taste. Divide the curry into bowls and serve over a cooked whole grain or with flatbread. Directly before serving, sprinkle each bowl with a tablespoon or two of parsley or cilantro. Curry leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
To make the flatbread, whisk together the chickpea and rice flour, salt, and cumin in a medium or large mixing bowl. Add the warm water and whisk until you have a smooth batter, making sure to catch any lumps. (To make super easy work of this, use an immersion blender or a regular blender instead of a whisk.) Then, stir in the parsley. Cover the bowl and allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes, or transfer the batter to an airtight container and let it rest in the fridge for up to 24 hours before you make the flatbreads.
Heat a small amount of olive oil (about a teaspoon, or use a mister or spray oil for convenience) in a medium sized frying pan or skillet (I used a pan that was about 10 1/2 inches across at the top and 8 inches across at the bottom, but I could have used something even a bit smaller) over medium heat. Add the batter to the pan by the heaping 1/3 cup. Allow the batter to cook until small bubbles are forming evenly across the top, and then gingerly use a spatula to loosen the flatbread from the pan and flip it. Continue cooking the other side for 1-2 minutes, or until it's cooked through and can be easily removed from the pan. Continue this process with all of the remaining batter. As with pancake-making, the flatbreads will probably get more consistent as you continue to use up the batter with confidence!
Serve the flatbreads with any soup, stew, or curry, or enjoy them with hummus spread on top. They're versatile. If you'd like to make a simpler version, you can omit the parsley and cumin. The flatbreads will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
I look forward to trying these flatbread with red lentil daal, curried yellow split peas, and chana masala. I’d also love to try them for breakfast, maybe with a savory tofu scramble. Lots of possibility, and again, I love that the batter can be stirred and stored in advance.
I hope you try and enjoy the recipe–let me know what you think!
On Friday, I’ll be back with a new cookbook giveaway, as well as a terrific smoothie/shake recipe. Stay tuned.