An easy and warming chickpea and eggplant curry, this stew is a great choice for weeknight meals, most any time of year. This delectable stew is a Westernized mash-up of two Indian favorites, chana masala, a dish that highlights chickpeas, and baingan bharata, which features eggplant.
Green beans, which are presented as an option in the notes section of the recipe box, aren’t traditionally used in either dish, but they work well in tandem with the chickpeas and eggplant, adding color as well as flavor. There’s also an option for adding a bit of spinach.
Complete the meal: Serve with or over hot cooked brown Basmati rice. A fresh flatbread is always a welcome addition. And if you’ve got a bit more time and inclination, a simple cucumber raita is refreshing companion. See how to make it, following.
Easy Cucumber Raita: In a small serving bowl, combine one crisp medium-size cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced, with a 6-ounce container (or about 3/4 cup) of coconut yogurt (or other good vegan yogurt) and mix together.
Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and stir in some fresh herbs — as much or as little as you’d like. Consider cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, or a combination.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked or two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium eggplant, stemmed and diced
- 1 medium bell pepper, any color, diced
- 2 to 3 teaspoons good-quality curry powder or garam masala, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 to 3 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze-bottle ginger, to taste
- 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, or more, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving, optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- Hot cooked rice or other grain for serving
- Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan or small soup pot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden, about 4 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, eggplant, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, then cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the tomatoes and lemon juice. Add a small amount of additional water, if needed, but let the consistency remain thick and stew-like rather than soupy. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes longer.
- Stir in the optional cilantro and season with salt and pepper. If you’d like a bit more spice, sprinkle in some dried hot red pepper flakes.
- Serve in shallow bowls with hot cooked grain of your choice.
Two cups or so fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, are a nice addition to this stew, or used in place of bell pepper. Either way, add them in step 3 with the tomatoes.
Or, add 2 or 3 big handfuls of baby spinach or baby power greens when the stew is just about done; stir them in and they’ll wilt down quickly.
If you like this chickpea and eggplant curry, you might also enjoy …
Here are more easy vegan main dishes.