Bring on the Indian feast.
This weekend, some friends and I decided to eat Indian food for almost 48 hours straight. Needless to say, it was a delicious journey.
We started last night at Curry & Pie in Georgetown. I discovered the restaurant a couple weeks ago when I was reading D.C. food news, and when I saw the menu, I had to hold myself back from running there on the spot. It has traditional Indian dishes, but the restaurant’s specialty is Indian-themed pizzas.
My friend Sapna and I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala pizza and all I can say is, whoa. The tikka masala sauce was the perfect base: tomato-y, spicy and flavorful. And the cheese on top actually went really well with the sauce.
We couldn’t finish the whole pizza so we took some home. I can vouch for how good it is on day two; I ate a couple slices cold today and it was delicious. Today, we all made an Indian dish and ate them for lunch. My friend Tracy made cucumber raita, which is basically cucumber yogurt sauce. It goes well with everything. Carly made my all-time favorite Indian dish, bhindi masala, or okra in tomatoes. Rachel made chana masala, or chickpeas and tomatoes. Sapna made matar paneer, a fried cheese and tomato dish. And I made my second favorite Indian dish, baingan bharta, or tomatoes and eggplant.
This baingan bharta was BANGIN. I sort of improvised because I used the kitchen last, and I didn’t have the patience to wait for the eggplant to completely blacken in the oven. But it all turned out well. I mashed up the eggplant and added it to some onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices in a frying pan. Then I kept mashing everything together with a wooden spoon to get it to the right consistency (it should resemble a puree).
I’m lucky that I have good friends who love Indian food as much as I do. This feast will go down as one for the record books.
On a side note, I’ve been jamming out to this song a lot this weekend. It’s great for long stretches of time when you have to wait for the bus and want to tune out weekend traffic.
Baingan Bharta (slightly adapted from The New York Times)
2 pounds eggplant
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 fresh hot green chile like a jalapeño, or more to taste, thinly sliced (discard seeds for less heat)
1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
½ cup chopped cilantro, thin stems included
2 teaspoons garam masala
Prick the eggplant with a thin-blade knife. Grill over or next to very high heat, turning as necessary until the skin is blackened and the eggplant collapses. Or broil, or roast on a heated cast-iron pan in the hottest possible oven (I set mine to 500 degrees F). It will take about 20 minutes.
When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel (this will be easy) and trim away the hard stem. Chop or mash in a bowl, with lime juice.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chiles and cook for another minute. Add the tomato, turmeric and salt. Cook until the tomato is soft, 5 minutes or so.
Stir in the eggplant purée and cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and garam masala and turn off the heat. Serve hot with warm chapati bread or pita, or over rice.