Monday, March 3, 2008

Creamy Curried Eggplant and Pumpkin Risotto

My efforts to include rosematta rice into our diet are still on, though not as often as I would like. After consuming raw rice for so many years, it's a little difficult to have plain rosematta rice with our usual sambar, kootu and rasam. And since I know it would probably put hubby off brown rice totally, I don't even try; preferring instead to make other kinds of dishes with it. And that's definitely not an everyday affair.

One evening while deciding dinner (can't we have some kind of lottery system for this?), I felt like eating kathrikai murungakkai thokku (a curried eggplant drumstick preparation) which is a favourite on hubby's maternal side - it's delicious and one aunt who specialises in making it, is the de facto "thokku chef" for every family gathering. Well, with no drumsticks in near sight and a firm resolve to make brown rice for dinner, the "thokku" seemed like a pipe dream. But one can always improvise, n'est ce pas?.......

I soaked some rosematta rice and then played it by the ear. Pumpkin seemed to be a good substitute for the sweet fleshiness of drumsticks. The thokku has a bit of sambar powder added to it, so if I wanted to do the same with the rice it seemed apt to add coconut milk to balance things out. As you can see, my train of thought may make no sense to anyone else.....but that's how things get cooked in this house!

I had no idea how this dish would turn out, but when it was finally done, I knew this recipe was a keeper. The rice cooked in coconut milk was as creamy as risottos come and the pumpkin and eggplant made a whole lot of difference - I doubt if the usual french beans and carrots would have tasted as good. The sambar powder was not overpowering, so it lent a nice touch to the dish.

This dish goes to the Monthly Mingle event which Meeta of Whats for Lunch Honey?, hosts, where this month's theme is One Dish Dinners.

Creamy Curried Eggplant and Pumpkin Risotto


Rosematta rice - 1 cup, washed and soaked for about an hour, in 3 cups of water
Onions - 1 big, sliced thin
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped roughly
Red pumpkin (kaddu/paringikai) - 1 cup of 1" cubes
Eggplant (brinjal) - 3-4 small, cubes
Green pepper - 1 small, cut into squares

Coconut milk - 2 cups ( I added a couple of green chillies to the coconut while extracting the milk; if you are using canned or powdered extract , then you could add a couple of slit green chillies with the whole spices to increase the heat)
Vegetable stock - 1.5 cups kept hot (can be substituted with broth made from one soup cube)

Oil - 1 tbsp
Star Anise - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Cinnamon - 1"stick
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp


1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan and add the whole spices to it (bayleaf, star anise, cinnamon), when they change colour put in the cumin seeds.
2. Toss in the sliced onions and saute till golden brown. Then add the ginger garlic paste, stirring to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.
3. After a minute, add the chopped pumpkin, eggplant and peppers. Saute on high for five minutes, then sprinkle the sambar powder and fry on low for 5-6 minutes till the vegetables soften. Cover for another 2 minutes till they are cooked, but firm. Throw in the chopped tomatoes and fry a couple of minutes.
4. Drain the soaked rice and add to the pan, fry for about 4 minutes till it is well coated with the oil and a bit toasted.
5. Add about 1 cup of hot vegetable stock and salt and bring to boil, reduce flame and simmer covered till the water is absorbed.
6. Mix the remaining half cup of hot vegetable stock with one cup of coconut milk and pour into the pan. Cover and simmer again till all of it is absorbed. (If you have divided the extract into first and second, then start with the second extract, which will be thinner)
7. Check the rice and adjust salt if needed; add the remaining cup of coconut milk, cook for about 4-5 minutes, turn off the flame while there is still some liquid in the rice and keep covered for 3-4 minutes. Serve warm.

It takes about 45 minutes to an hour for the rice to cook, so you can tend to other stuff while it cooks (I grated some bottle gourd(ghia) for a raita to go with the risotto - recipe to follow).
The risotto doesn't need constant supervision and is quite forgiving as compared to white rice which, when I started cooking fried rice or pulao on the stove top, would either get mushy or dry out and stick to the bottom.


Nupur said...

I've been looking for new dishes using rosematta rice, so thanks for sharing this!
I am on the same quest as you...trying to find ways to eat more brown and parboiled rice. So far, dosa has been the best way to include brown rice in our diet.

Asha said...

YUM! Never seen Eggplant Risotto, looks delicious. Send this to Pooja's Brinjal event!:)

Miri said...

Dosa seems like a good idea...usually I grind batter only once - first day is idli and second day is dosai...if I can manage to come to terms with not white idlis, then maybe I can try rosematta! :)

Happy cook said...

Looks new and delicious

zlamushka said...


This is a beatufiul dish. Interesting, never heard of rosematta rice, looks like Basmatti.

ServesYouRight said...

You go girl! Super creative and healthy - very nicely done!


Miri said...

Thanks Happy Cook, zlamushka and Smita. Zlamushka - this is not at all like basmati which is a long grained rice. This is an unpolished rice with pinkish streaks and cooks into lovely plump grains...

MeetaK said...

You know I just love risotto! This is exceptional - using eggplant and the use of coconut milk is certainly fantastic!

Miri said...

Thanks so much Meeta.

Sophie said...

WOW (impressed look). Your eggplant dish looks so yummy.

Here I bought a sauce pack for Sauce for Spicy Garlic Egg-plant so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.

Dazy said...

I'm making this for dinner tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!