The first farmers’ market of the season took place today. We shopped for produce between rainfalls. We brought home a few heavy bagfuls of goodies, but the star of the morning for me was the baby eggplants Miriam was selling at her booth.
I gravitated toward Nigel Slater’s book Tender to prepare these gems. With so many succulent recipes to choose from, I finally decided upon a simple aromatic stew that had all the makings of the type of comforting lunch one would want to eat on a rainy day.
Cardamom, coriander and turmeric give this meal a deep and earthy flavor, while a generous dose of cracked black pepper, sliced garlic and ginger cut into matchsticks brightens the dish up with their spice.
We love turmeric so much that when I reached for the bottle I discovered it was empty, and I began texting neighbors to ask if I could come by to borrow some. I called my husband; I was in a bit of a panic. Happily, Will reminded me that we had some turmeric root lurking around in the fridge and so I used that instead. I love how turmeric turns everything this gorgeous orange/yellow. My fingers still bare a bit of the stain despite washing my hands right after. Another aspect of this dish that I like so much is that Nigel uses both turmeric and black pepper; I have read in several places that black pepper helps the body to absorb/activate the components in turmeric that are anti-inflammatory.
The only thing I might possibly add next time around is a finishing swirl of vegan yogurt. While the heat is somewhat tempered by the coconut milk that the dish is cooked in, I still love a last touch for added richness.