I was Indian in a past life. I must’ve been.  That’s the only explanation I can think of for my love (bordering on obsession) of Indian food.  I love Vindaloo and Saag and Tandoori anything. I love the okra and eggplant at Indian restaurants. I went on Semester at Sea in college and ate my way through Southern India. I remember one of the most delicious meals of my life in a town called Mahabalipuram. We ate on the shores of the Indian Ocean as the owners brought out dish after dish for us to try. Years later, I still adore Indian food but now have slight reservations. For one thing, recipes usually call for a million ingredients (that’s what makes them so good) and the second, while I adore Indian food it can be a little rich.
I am thrilled to tell you about something I found that renders me issue-less. Maya Kaimal’s Indian Simmer Sauces. The sauces come in varieties such as Tikka Masala and Kashmiri Curry. Everything on the short ingredient list is something you can pronounce: onions, tomatoes, coconut milk, ginger etc. You simply sauté your protein of choice in a tablespoon of oil, add your sauce and as the name suggests allow it to “simmer” for 15 minutes. You can have this on the table sooner than you’d have Indian delivered.
The sauces are all vegetarian and gluten free. They can be used with chicken, salmon or shrimp but also with vegetables. One of the recipes, below, that Maya Kaimal sent us also uses the sauce as a soup base. Most recipes (there are more on their website) call for using a jar of sauce (360 calories) for 4 total servings. I use ¾ of the jar and reserve the rest for adding a little zip to veggies another day.  We have the Tikka Masala over brown rice and had the Eggplant Curry over quinoa. Thanks to Maya Kaimal, my obsession lives now with a healthy twist.
If you had to pick your favorite cuisine, what would it be? What are your favorite weeknight dinner “tricks” or shortcuts? Do you ever stray from recipes based on the number of ingredients? Does that make us lazy?
Maya Kaimal’s Kashmiri Eggplant Curry
Serves 4
Vegetable oil in spritzer, as needed
1 lb. slender eggplant (Japanese or Graffiti work well), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 container Maya Kaimal Kashmiri Curry
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1.  Spray a light coating of vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add half the eggplant slices in a single layer and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a dish and hold aside.  Cook the second batch in the same manner but leave in the pan when browned.
2.  Return the first batch of eggplant to the pan.  Add the Kashmiri Curry sauce and stir gently to coat the slices.  Simmer over low-heat until eggplant is tender, about 5 minutes. 
3.  When ready to serve, garnish the eggplant and sauce with cilantro.
 Maya Kaimal’s Kashmiri Vegetable Soup
Serves 4
Our sauces make excellent soup bases.  This is a nice tomato and vegetable soup, but feel free to replace or add to the sweet potato and kale with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Leftover chicken or sausage makes a hearty addition as well. 
1 container Maya Kaimal Kashmiri Curry
1 1/2 cups water
1 small sweet potato (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and diced
1 cup lightly packed, stemmed, and roughly chopped kale*
1 15.5 oz. can butter beans, drained  (or other white bean)
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1.  Combine the Kashmiri Curry, water, sweet potato, kale, and beans in a soup pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
2.  Stir in the coconut milk and heat a few minutes longer.


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