Indian Ratatouille

Don and I have the pleasure of hosting a young man from Pakistan by the name of Muhammad Ishaq Israr. He is here to attend Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Ishaq works for a nongovernmental organization, Just Peace, in his country. He will be with us for a month.

Since Ishaq is Muslim and only eats Halal food, we made a vegetarian stew this evening for supper. We learned that fish is fine for him to eat, but if he has any meat or poultry, it has to be slaughtered in a particular manner. I’ll have to research Harrisonburg to find out if we can get Halal foods. Otherwise, we will be eating a lot of fish and vegetarian meals for the next month.

This recipe is from the Moosewood New Classics cookbook. I love the recipes in this cookbook. They are always delicious, and this is no exception!

Indian Ratatouille picture

Delicious, filling, flavorful but not overly spicy Indian Ratatouille.

Indian Ratatouille
Serves 6-8

2 cups diced onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh chile, minced (seeded for milder hot) or 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno peppers (store-bought in a jar)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
generous pinch of crumbled saffron
1 cup orange juice
5 cups cubed eggplant (1-inch cubes)
2  zucchini squash, cubed
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

In a large pot (Dutch oven works well), saute the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are transparent. Add the spices , stir. Add the juice. Toss in the eggplant (I leave the skins on), zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes and basil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.

Serve hot or at room temperature. We had it with cornbread, but both Don and I thought it would be good with rice or couscous, too.

This dish is not overly spicy, but we will have to look for some recipes from Pakistan. Ishaq liked the stew, but he said in his country they do not use as many spices as people from India do. So the search goes on… We will, of course, introduce Ishaq to American foods, as well. This is his first time in the United States. We have much to learn about one another.

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About Lois

My husband, Don Crawford, and I love to cook. For me, it's more about eating delicious food than the actual cooking. I like to cook mostly because I like to eat, and I like the proud sense of accomplishment when the food I make is appreciated by others. For Don, it's all about presentation. So we make a good team. I'm too impatient to create beautiful presentations (usually), but he sweeps in and takes over so it all turns out great. All our recipes are tried and true!
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