Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is a Story, a Story About One Night and One Curry.

It was a clear and warm evening.  August.  It had been a mild summer but there was something in the air.  A feeling.  Something stirring in my gut.  That feeling was hunger.  I didn't mind it too much but I needed to fix it and fix it fast.  I'd been hungry before, and I knew it would just grow and grow until I had changed, changed into the beast.  The Ms. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll.  But I had bigger things to worry about.  Bigger than the intensely alluring, yet grouchy Ms. Hyde. 

Earlier in the week I bought a plane ticket to visit a friend, and I had made a deal with myself, a deal that would keep me in the pink.  I have a habit, a habit of going to the grocery store more often that I need to.  So when I bought the ticket I told my self, I would only buy eggs, soup, a lemon, and cabbage, and nothing else until my pocket book held more than lint.  Enter my parents garden.

For the first time eggplants were growing well in my parents garden and I got one, along with a tomato.  I knew what to do with the tomato, it went on tuna, tuna sandwiches, an old favorite around these parts, but not around much lately.  But the eggplant?  How did that figure into this whole caper?

Then I remembered.  Dimples had a blog.  Dimples was her show name, one I made up to fit the film noir feel I'm going for in this post.  Only those introduced to her know her as Carrie.  So I went to Dimples' blog and there I found it.  She called it Baingan Bharta, but I knew it for what it was, what the title parenthetically said it was, eggplant curry.

A quick inventory of my supplies told me I was missing quite a bit.  Plus, tuna sandwiches had already claimed part of the tomato I had.  But Dimples wasn't just a looker, and my knowledge of her blog wasn't just a passing acquaintance.  Dimples knew what she was doing in the kitchen, time on her blog had told me that.  If she was missing an ingredient, she replaced it with another.  Me, I don't like bending the rules that way.  I stay inside the recipe. 

I sliced my eggplant and mixed some curry powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and ground cumin into some cornstarch.  I coated my eggplant and cooked it in some vegetable oil.  It wasn't right, so I added some egg to the mix.  It didn't taste like eggplant, and I like eggplant.  I had to take a new tactic, but this was a tough nut to crack. 

I looked in the fridge and the pantry.  Then at the blog post.  I had a sliced eggplant and Ms. Hyde lurking near by.  I had a choice.  I chose to bend the recipe, hopefully it wouldn't break.

I got out two carrots and chopped them up.  I heated up oil in a pot, and added the carrots and eggplant, and I stirred.  It needed more flavor, and I was saving my only onion for a different dish.  I put in garlic and curry powder and I stirred some more.  The eggplant was becoming translucent, but not fast enough.  I put a lid on it and let it stew.  But I couldn't just have eggplant and carrots.  The recipe called for a diced tomato and I had to deliver.  I grabbed a can of diced tomatoes and stirred it in my pot.  Then I took out the can, opened it and added the contents to my pot.  It still wasn't enough.  I added cumin powder, and cayenne pepper.  Then for kicks, I added ground ginger.  It was getting hot in the kitchen, and I didn't know if I could stand the heat.  I looked at the recipe again.  It called for yogurt.  The only yogurt in my fridge was lemon flavored and not mine.  So I added almond milk, but yogurt is thick, so I added some of the curried cornstarch as a thickener and covered it.  Time passed and I tasted the broth, it hit some notes but a couple of those were flat, so in went gram, gram marsala.  Gram marsala was a sweet kid, but she had a kick, she would mix well with the other ingredients.

It was over all too fast, and I was facing the music.  Would my curry stand or fail?  Did I just waste twos of dollars of ingredients?  I took a bite of the curry.  The rice was still cooking and I needed to know if rice and I were dining alone.  But a robust baingan bharta would be dining with us and I would use the good silverware.