Ground Chicken & Eggplant Curry Recipe
My Ground Chicken & Eggplant Curry is always a family favorite. Spicy ground meat is gently simmered with pieces of eggplant & aromatic spices until tender. Believe it or not, eggplant works very well with minced meat & traditionally – ground lamb is used in India. But I have decided to lighten up the dish by using ground chicken instead. But feel free to use whatever ground meat your family prefers. This dish can also be made using chicken thighs & legs (bone-in, but skinless pieces work best).
For this particular recipe, I highly recommend using the long thin Japanese eggplant variety as they stand up better during the cooking process. Otherwise, the baby purple eggplants work well too. Any hearty eggplant variety will work in this dish.
GROUND CHICKEN & EGGPLANT CURRY
1 lb ground chicken
1 large thin eggplant, (or about 5-6 baby eggplants)
1 large tomato, pureed
1 large onion, finely diced
4-5 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp ground fennel seeds
½ red chili powder, to taste
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp tomato paste
juice of ½ lemon
2-3 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola), as needed
2 tbsp toasted unsalted almond slices for garnish
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
First cut into the eggplant into 1” size cubes (or if you are using baby eggplants, cut them into wedges). Transfer to a colander & sprinkle them liberally with a little salt. Toss well & let sit for at least 1 hour.
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add 1 tbsp of the oil. When hot, add the eggplant cubes (or wedges) & sauté until lightly browned. If needed, add a little oil to help the eggplant brown nicely but do not add too much – eggplant acts like a sponge when it comes to oil & tends to just absorb it. Drain well on absorbent paper towels & set aside until needed.
To the same large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil. When hot, add the onion and sauté until lightly browned. Next add the garlic, ginger & green chilies. Stir fry for just a few minutes and then add the spices (bay leaf, ground cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, ground fennel seeds, red chili powder, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala, salt & pepper). Stir well to combine all of the ingredients and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the ground chicken and mix well. Keep stirring until the ground chicken is thoroughly broken up and fully cooked through. The ground chicken should be aromatic and nicely browned. Now add in the tomato paste and stir well, allow it to cook for a couple of minutes before adding in the tomato puree & the eggplant cubes. If you would like more of a curry, feel free to add a cup or so of water if it looks too dry. Mix well to combine, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Garnish with the toasted almond slices & the freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice for a delicious Indian meal.
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