It is fair to say that I can be a bit of an impulse shopper at the grocery store.
(And who can blame me if we think back to my recent post in which I mentioned that grocery stores have a well-honed practice of using psychological and other tricks to get us to buy more than we might otherwise plan to.)
My impulse buys?
Well, there are many, but fresh fruits and vegetables often top the list. (I know – but what did you expect this nutritionist to say? I’m not going to out myself about my sweet tooth, though it certainly exists – indeed, it might be the sweetest thing about me!)
In particular, I love to buy (and eat) foods I’ve never had before and I love to buy fresh fruits and vegetables that I don’t see all the time at the store.
For some reason, baby eggplants have been my impulse buy of late!
I simply can’t resist their shiny, smooth, antioxidant-rich skins and creamy-when-roasted-until-tender insides.
Normally, though, I have a hard time doing the adorably cute baby eggplants justice. I usually don’t plan my weekly menus around my impulse buys, so it becomes a mad race to simply throw them into whatever else I might be cooking. And for the record, they hide quite nicely in soups, stews and curries of all kinds.
Lately, I have been experimenting with them in a new way. Sliced thinly and evenly, coated in a bit of oil and a generous amount of curry powder, and then roasted until crisp (or mostly crisp, depending on how thinly you slice them).
The result? Versatile, high-flavour vegetable chips that have a perfect brown crust matched with the creamiest, melt-in-your-mouth insides. I love them as a vegetable side, tucked into sandwiches, as a snack or tossed in a salad, pasta or grain bowl, or even sliced into scrambled eggs.
I have found that for me, the sweet spot is with eggplant slices that are roughly ¼ inch thick. This provides a perfect crunchy crust with soft insides; if you prefer all-crunch and no creamy insides, you can slice them a bit thinner.
I prefer to use a homemade curry powder because there is simply no flavour comparison to store-bought versions. At the same time, making your own spice blend helps ensure the most nutritious, freshest result possible.
If you’ve never done it before, you might think that making your own spice blend takes a long time. But it doesn’t – not really. It consists of toasting the spices (takes but a minute or three) and then grinding them up. I use a coffee grinder dedicated to this use.
If you’ve never made your own curry powder, I highly recommend the curry powder recipe by Meghan Telpner in her book Undiet. It’s a favourite and I’ve made it dozens of times.
Here’s the recipe for your eggplant impulse buying pleasure:
Roasted Curried Eggplant Chips
- 1 lb. baby eggplant
- 2-4 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tsp curry powder of your choice
- ½ tsp sea salt (omit if your curry powder already contains salt)
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375°.
Wash, dry, trim and thinly slice your baby eggplants. I recommend ¼" for a crispy/creamy chip; if you prefer all crunch, slice them a bit thinner than that.
In a large bowl big enough to fit your eggplant slices, add 2 Tbsp of coconut oil, curry powder and sea salt. Stir well to mix.
Add the eggplant slices to your large bowl and toss very well to combine. You want some of the spiced oil over each slice on both sides. Depending on the number and thickness of your slices, you may need to add an extra 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil to ensure they are fully coated with oil and spices.
Lay the eggplant slices on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until golden brown.
This recipe couldn’t be simpler and quite likely, there might not be a better way to give those baby eggplants bought on impulse a more star treatment.
Life is a plate… Eat up!