Ringra Bateta- potato and eggplant in a tomato curry with Indian origins but a signature dish in recipe developer and cookbook author Zaynab Issa’s Tanzanian household.
It’s simply crushed tomatoes layered with spices– cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander simmered until you’re left with a luscious curry paste to coat tender pieces of potato and eggplant. Every bite is earthy, silky, fragrant.
The curry (which happens to be vegan) is an ode to Zaynab’s East African and Indian background. Zanzibar, an island located off the mainland of Tanzania and Kenya, is where her family is from. This dish is featured in Zaynab’s zine-style cookbook “Let’s Eat” alongside other recipes adapted from her mother and grandmother. The book encourages sharing, bringing us back to the nostalgia of a dinner table where love, good conversation, and homemade food overflow.
“Let’s Eat” invites readers to interpret the recipes as their own, stating “Think of these recipes as suggestions, sort of like a framework. Swap ingredients, add more, leave it out – do whatever feels good & right.” We couldn’t agree more.
Serve this dish with a green chutney (another simple recipe from “Let’s Eat”) and roti, an unleavened wheat flatbread. Tear a piece of roti and use it to grab a bit of the curry, let the flavor unravel in your mouth, enjoy!
P.S. – Perhaps give this recipe a try with Kenyan chapati— name a better duo…
Jikoni Test Kitchen Notes:
- When the vegetables are pulled from the hot oven you’ll notice their slightly crispy outer layer has puffed up a bit, they’re ready for the tomato curry.
- Texture check: prick your potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender enough. You’re looking for an easy bite with enough texture to hold up in the dry curry.
- This dish makes a dry curry. A dry curry is cooked with little liquid creating a paste where a wet curry is cooked with more liquid creating a gravy.
- Bloom your spices! Get your oil just hot enough (not smoking) and add in your spices. Stir frequently to keep the spices from burning which can create a bitter taste. You want to stir until fragrant. This step brightens up your spices and deepens the flavor of your dish.
Ringra Bateta- an East African dish of potato and eggplant in a vegan tomato curry that is slightly sweet and layered with spices– cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander.
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled
2 medium globe eggplants
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided + more to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Begin by preparing the eggplant and potatoes. Cut the eggplant lengthwise and then into ½ inch thick slices. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then into ¼ inch thick slices.
- In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggplant, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt. Toss to coat evenly. Arrange the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet, or two, and roast until tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the crushed tomato, remaining salt, and water. Partially cover the skillet and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. The majority of the water should have evaporated out and the curry should have become darker in color and thicker in texture.
- Once cooked, add the eggplant and the potatoes to the skillet and stir to coat the vegetables in the curry, using additional water as needed.
- Serve with roti or naan and green chutney.