I made this in our Instant Pot last summer when we had a bumper crop of eggplant from the garden. It was delicious, and is my wife's favorite thing to eat now. If I have accidently re-invented a traditional Indian dish it was unintentional. I don't know much about Indian food so I may have just stumbled on to something everyone else takes for granted, but it's yummy. So I'm calling this Eggplant Nirvana until someone more knowledgeable tells me different. I'm giving the recipe in store bought items, but if you have home grown eggplant, tomatoes and herbs this definitely came out better using fresh stuff from the garden. Using store bought eggplant and canned tomatoes is still worth it, but doesn't quite reached the peak goodness of what the garden sourcesdingredients hit.
-Put your Instant Pot on the frying option and add 2 tablespoons of oil.
-Dice whole onion and add to instant pot and start sauteing. I add some salt at this point to help keep the onion from charring. Give it a stir every minute or so.
-Peel and dice 8 fat cloves of garlic. This is the super important step. Lots of fresh garlic. It makes this dish to die for. You don't have to dice them finely: I shoot for BB to pea-sized pieces. Add to pot. Stir in.
-Add eggplant. Now the 4 cups I'm calling for is a squishy number. More or less eggplant will be fine. If you are using black eggplants from the grocery store I would peel them first otherwise you'll have tough bits of skin in the dish. If you have long, thin-skinned Asian eggplants from the garden, then don't worry about peeling them. Thin-skinned eggplants don't need it. I dice the eggplant into approximately finger tip sized chunks. Add them to the pot and stir them in. They'll start to cook down a bit while soaking up the oil.
- now sprinkle the Garam Masala, cinnamon and curry into the mixture and keep stirring to get everything coated as evenly as possible. Do avoid one big clump of spice hitting one piece of eggplant. stir and cook for one minute.
-Add the can of tomatoes (or a bunch of garden tomatoes if you have them!) and stir in.
-Now add the box of rice-a-roni. Pick any flavor you like. I generally use rice pilaf because that's what my wife prefers. Dump the flavor packet into the pot too. You could just add a cup of white rice too. if you have no rice-a-roni.
-Now, and this is important: add water. How much? I use what the rice-a-roni package says, but less 3/4 cup. So if the rice-a-roni package calls for 2 cups water, only use 1 and 1/4 cups. Your Nirvana will be too runny if you us the full amount of water. If you use a cup of white rice then I would use 3/4 cup of water, but I haven't made it this way, so that is just my best guess.
-Add bouillon to taste (I'd use chicken or veggie bouillon).
-Optional: add some Umami now (I use several dashes of fish sauce). Stir in.
-Last step, and this is optional too: add some random garden herbs on top. I had a big herb garden last year when I made this and I laid Mexican tarragon, oregano, thyme, bay leaf and lemon grass blades on the top of the mixture. Wow, it was good, especially the lemon grass. But my spices were woody twigs I snipped off the plants outside so, rather than mixing them into the pot, I simply laid them on top so I could easily remove the woody bits after cooking. If you don't have the fresh herbs, I'd at least throw a bay leaf in there. Experiment with it. I did like the lemongrass, but didn't have any over the winter and this dish is perfectly good without it. Just slightly better when you can get it.
-set instant pot to 3 minutes on high pressure. Let the pressure naturally release.
-Try to let this cool down some before eating. The flavors develop over time and it's better (and less likely to blister your mouth) if you let it sit for 30 minutes to cool. It's even better the next day as a left over.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (138g)|
|Recipe Makes: 4 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 19 (29%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 2.1g||3 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.3g||2 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 1.3g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.3g|
|Cholesterol 0.1mg||0 %|
|Sodium 159.6mg||6 %|
|Potassium 284.8mg||7 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 11.6g||3 %|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||16 %|
|Sugars, other 7.6g|
|Protein 2g||3 %|
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Calories per serving: 66
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