After a long day, I think, Oh, no! I forgot to plan my meals this week and I have no idea what to eat for dinner. With a nervously sad face, I look at which veggies are in my fridge. One evening I was faced with aubergine (eggplant) and an onion.
Often I find I don't have much to go on, but a tasty meal can be made out of this, I convince myself. I find a can of tomatoes in the cupboard; I usually have one around.
And some black-eyed beans. I try to have a container of dried beans soaking in the fridge all the time. When I cook beans in a meal, I start another container. They can sit in water in the fridge for a day or three and they'll be ready to cook. (Other people like keeping cans of beans in the pantry. This is a really easy plan because then the beans don't need to be cooked much at all.)
And now I have enough for a meal: aubergine and onion, curried in a tomato sauce with beans to round out the dish. A few greens languishing in the crisper drawer finish off this delicious dinner-from-nowhere.
Curried Aubergine and Black-Eyed Beans
1 T mild oil
2 Asian aubergines or 1 large aubergine, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, sliced into large pieces
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 can of tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 t dried basil
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t ground cumin or cumin seeds
2 c black-eyed beans, soaked, or cooked, or 1 can of black-eyed beans
handful of spinach or other dark green leaves, coarsely chopped
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the aubergine and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onion is just softening.
Add the aubergine, tomatoes, bay leaf, turmeric, paprika, and cumin. Add the beans. Simmer for 10 minutes, if using cooked or canned beans, or for 25 minutes, if using soaked beans, until the beans are tender.
Add the spinach or greens and stir to wilt.