One of my favorite non-vegetarian Indian dishes is chicken tikka masala. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was drooling. But why should chicken have all the fun? I wanted to modify the recipe and make a vegetarian version that was even better.
There are some recipes that substitute Greek yogurt for the heavy cream in a traditional masala. The reason that heavy cream works best is because it has a high fat content, and doesn’t break down as easily when heated. So I kept the heavy cream and used a smaller amount to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the final dish.
In the end, the eggplant was fantastic, and I didn’t miss the chicken one bit. The marinade really does infuse the eggplant with a lot of flavor. The masala sauce had a beautiful color and a rich taste, but it was a little too thick. Next time, I would add some vegetarian broth to the tomato sauce for a thinner consistency. But overall, I am calling this recipe a success!
Eggplant Tikka Masala
2 lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
6 oz. plain nonfat yogurt
2 T lemon juice
3 t cumin, divided
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
2 T oil, divided
2 t minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced
2 t coriander
1 t paprika
1 t garam masala
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 c. heavy cream
Place eggplant pieces in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, lemon juice, 2 t cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and ginger. Pour marinade on eggplant and stir to coat all pieces. Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Remove eggplant from refrigerator. Heat 1 T oil in a large pan. Add eggplant, and cook on medium heat until soft, about 20-25 minutes. (In the summer, you might try to grill the eggplant in a basket.)
Heat remaining 1 T oil in a separate frying pan. Add garlic and jalapeno, and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining 1 t cumin, coriander, paprika, and garam masala to pan, and stir. Add tomato sauce, stir well, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add heavy cream and stir. Remove from heat, and mix sauce with cooked eggplant. Serve over rice, or with naan.
-Recipe inspired by Mattawa Mum