Eggplants are not a veggie that I have had any particular affinity with, or love of, until I started making them into casseroles. Shown above on the left side is my creamy cheesy chana chaat curry casserole - no I didn't do that on purpose - and off to the right is an almond tomato version with lots of oregano!
Now I promised that I'd share how I make these today, so here we go: The other thing is that you'd be surprised by how little it really costs to make dishes like this.
So here we go. To make two LARGE casseroles I used the following:
6 Eggplants - $6.00
2 Onions Large - $0.30
1 pack thin carrots - $2.00
1 pack of round red radishes - $1.00
1 four pack of green peppers - $2.00
1 can coconut milk $2.20
1/2 pack Daiya Cheese $2.50 (for half the pack)
200grams ground almonds $2.00
1 head of Elephant Garlic $2.00
1 tin diced tomatoes $1.00
Various spices/oil/flour etc $0.50
Total Cost (not including energy/water) $21.50
So for $20.50 I got two huge casseroles from the above ingredients. That is of course $10 per dish, and each dish fed 4 people both dinner and lunch the next day.
That equates to about $2.60 per person per meal. Considering that the average cost of a home cooked meal per person is $5, I'd say that came in pretty darn good!
Now for the pics and how I made them.
Largely dice and then toss in salted water ( I use a 26% solution of pink Himalayan salt for cooking with) and sit to one side for at least an hour. This brings out some of the bitterness of the eggplant and adds a nice flavour as well.
After an hour, rinse and drain well!
Trimmed and tailed, then quartered, radishes add a nice surprise crunch and flavour to the casserole!
I apologize for the picture quality, but it's just a big bowl of roughly diced cooking onions. Used two rather large onions for these two casseroles.
Roughly chopped fresh green peppers. I love keeping things chunky as they hold the sauce well, and remain crunchy in the curry!
Elephant Garlic, now those are large but sweet cloves of garlic! They impart an amazing flavour to whatever you add them too, although I don't suppose they'd do well in cake!
You want to dice this thinly and finely. As seen in the photo below.
Yummy carrots. I love having carrots in my morning juice, especially as when you juice a carrot you actually separate the betacarotene from the fibre making it increasingly available to your body, however, they are great in casseroles too. These were thin carrots so I chopped them into 1" pieces. Sweet crunchy goodness!
Now for the Creamy Cheesy Curry Casserole....
Basically you take half of the above ingredients, and toss it all together. Add 1 cup of flour and your favourite curry spices, and toss to coat the entire bowl of veggies.
Put it into a baking dish, I used a deep oven proof pan, and press it down into it.
Shake your can of coconut milk as sometimes it separates a bit, and pour over the top of your coated veggies. Do not add water, the veggies will add sufficient liquids to the dish.
Over the top of the coconut milk, I added half a package of Daiya Cheese, the mozzarella version. On top of that I put some thinly sliced jalapeno peppers for both colour and flavour. With the creamy sauce you end up with, the occasional punch of heat you get is welcome!
Bake this at 350F for one hour, but do not cover the pan. This way the veggies remain somewhat crunchy and you end up with a creamier sauce.
The end result, a creamy rich curried casserole, that's ooey and goey with vegan cheesy goodness! Very rich though.
Now for the Almond Tomato Eggplant Casserole....
This one was a little easier on the fats and calories as it did not have coconut milk nor cheese in it. Instead, I added 1 tin of diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of dried oregano and tossed it all together. Put it in my largest roasting pan, and again pressed it down. This time I sprinkled the ground almonds over the top, with some black pepper and knobs of vegan margarine. I baked this covered for 1 hour at 350F.
The end result was amazing. In fact, the left overs will be added to a jar of my home made marinara sauce and served over rice or pasta for dinner tomorrow night.
So there you have it, bake them both at the same time, and feed yourself healthy hearty meals for under $3 per person! Whomever said eating vegan was expensive needs to come shopping with me!
Love Light and Laughter