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The ingredient list for a curry can be a little daunting with all those spices, but the technique isn’t very far from a pasta sauce: you just toast the whole spices and then move on to a sort of sofrito of onion, garlic, and ginger. At the end, a quick chutney, really just a rough chopped blend of herbs and coconut, gives the stew a bright pop of flavor (the way a few torn basil leaves make that tomato sauce sing).
- 2 tablespoons coconut or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 large tomatoes, grated on a large grate, with juices reserved
- 1¼ pounds eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, or 1¼ cups drained cooked chickpeas
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus more
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Plain yogurt (for serving)
Heat oil over medium-high in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add cumin and mustard seeds and cook 30 seconds, then add garlic and ginger. Stir constantly until garlic just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then stir in onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in turmeric and cayenne. Pour in tomatoes and their juices, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add eggplant, chickpeas, ¼ cup water, and a pinch of salt, stir, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pan and simmer until eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add jalapeño, shallot, lime juice, and honey. Fold in coconut, mint, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and lime juice.
Top with a dollop of yogurt before serving.