One major cuisine I've failed to incorporate into my cooking repertoire is Indian food. It just seems like there's such a high startup cost! In order to make anything tasty, you need a billion spices, and it still turns out much worse than the carryout you could have gotten in 1/10th of the time. (To be honest, Chinese food probably seems the same way to many people, but since I grew up with it, I find it more manageable. I think ethnic cuisines have a high fixed cost - low variable cost structure. Someone should write a paper on this.) However, there's one dish I make that's vaguely Indian inspired that also happens to be super easy, and turn out delicious every time. So if you, like me, have an irrational phobia of Indian cooking, try whipping this recipe up for all (ok, most) of the satisfaction with none of the hassle.
Eggplant with ginger and tomatoes
2 large eggplants
2 large or 4 small tomatoes
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
Salt, pepper, and chile flakes to taste
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large pot. Chop the onion finely, and add to the oil. Without skinning, cut the eggplant into 2-inch chunks. When the onion is translucent, add the eggplant and saute until the eggplant is brown in places. Chop the ginger very finely, and add to pot, sauteing for 2 minutes longer. Turn heat down to medium-low, roughly chop the tomatoes, add to pan, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes, or until each piece of eggplant is soft. You may wish to add more oil, or a couple tablespoons of water if mixture begins to stick. The eggplant tastes best with lots of oil and when left to cook for 45 minutes to an hour, but that depends on your time and nutritional constraints! Add salt, fresh pepper, and chile to taste. Enjoy with rice, or, when cooked for a long time, spread on crusty bread.