*Shak is a generic north Indian term for vegetables in spices.
While in Chicago, I learned a lesson in Indian cooking from my friends Roshni and Ankita. Keep it simple!
You see, I have the tendency to overcomplicate my Indian food with too many vegetables, spices, etc. But after watching them make delicious dishes using one or two vegetables and just a few spices, I quickly realized I was doing it all wrong.
And Vishnu agreed. After eating Ankita’s cauliflower and potato shak one night, he looked at me and said, “See, you have to keep it simple.”
Well, that’s what I plan on doing from now on!
In fact, I made a dish last night that was simple enough to prepare but didn’t lack in the flavor department. This potato and eggplant shak is creamy, comforting and perfect with a side of rice and yogurt.
I can’t take all the credit though. When I mentioned my new “keep it simple” rule to my mom, she told me about a sauce she makes that pairs well with all kinds of veggies and beans. I even got her to email me a loose “recipe!”
And that, my friends, is how this Creamy Potato and Eggplant Shak was born!
Without further ado…
Creamy Potato and Eggplant Shak
For the sauce:
2 cups water
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small green chili, cut into several small pieces
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/3 cup raw whole almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
Heat water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add all of the ingredients to the water, except salt and garam masala. Stir to combine. When the mixture starts to boil, reduce to medium heat and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Drain the mixture, reserving the water. Place onion/tomato mixture in a blender and puree until combined into a thick paste. Place saucepan over low heat and add olive oil. Pour onion/tomato mixture back into the saucepan. Add salt and garam masala. Mix everything together, cook for additional two minutes and set aside.
For the vegetables:
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium eggplant, diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes until they are deep brown and fragrant. Add potatoes along with 2/3 cup reserved water [from sauce]. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are almost cooked through but still firm to the touch. Gently fold in eggplant. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes until eggplant is cooked through. Add turmeric, salt, and red chili powder. Mix well. Cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the sauce to the vegetables along with 1/3 cup reserved water [from sauce]. Gently mix everything together, cover, and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add additional salt if needed.
Serve with naan/rice/quinoa and yogurt.