Monday, November 5, 2012

Lentil Eggplant Chile Mole

Ahhhhh.... Mondays.

Open All NightMondays are hard for me. I'm a natural night owl, so I stay up very late on weekends. It's not unusual for me to up be up until 3, 4 or even 5 a.m. I sleep until noon, and then get up and on with the day.

But I can't do this on weekdays, as I have to be at school for 9 a.m.  And I have a long commute, a very long commute.  So when Monday rolls around I have to switch from being a night owl to... what's the opposite of a night owl... a day owl??!!?

I commute 4 hours daily.

2 hours there, and 2 hours home again.

I live in Toronto, but go to school in Oakville. It is not so far if you drive, but I take public transit. Which means taking the subway to Union Station, the GO train to Oakville, and then Oakville transit to campus.  And the GO train, going against commuter traffic, only goes once an hour.

I get up at 5:30 a.m., leave the house at 6 a.m., and get to school at 8 a.m.  I'm usually home by about 4:30 or 5:00 p.m., except for Tuesday's when I have afternoon classes and am not home until 7:30 p.m.  Mondays to Thursdays I am totally knackered from all that learning, commuting, and homework.

Which is why I am thrilled to open the fridge and find dinner waiting for me!

aubergine Tonight it was Lentil Eggplant Chile Mole, which I prepared yesterday and reheated tonight as I got into my PJ's.  I found the recipe when I googled lentils and eggplant, as I had both sitting around and thought they might go nicely together. I also make a lovely lentil eggplant curry, but I was in the mood for something new.

I made some modifications to the original recipe by making it a little spicier than originally called for. If you don't like spicy food, you can leave out the hot cherry pepper, the chipotle sauce, and the red pepper flakes, and use a mild chili powder. As it is, this is nice and fiery!!

Lentil Eggplant Chile Mole
Adapted from a recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

2 medium or one large eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced medium
1 hot cherry pepper (remove seeds and membrane, then cut into small dice)
1 red pepper, diced medium
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon hot chili flakes
2 teaspoons chipotle sauce (**I get this in tiny cans at No Frills,
if it's not available you can leave it out)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup lentils, red or green, washed
4 cups vegetable stock
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat a 4-quart soup pot over medium high heat. Saute onions and bell pepper in oil until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and finely diced hot cherry pepper, and saute for another minute, using a splash of water or stock if it's sticking. Be careful with the hot cherry pepper. Although most of the heat is in the seeds, you will get some natural oils on your skin. After  handling the pepper do not put your hands near your eyes. Wait until you have washed your hands thoroughly. Mix in chili powder, chili flakes, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and cinnamon. Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and the cocoa powder; cook for about 1 more minute, while stirring, to dissolve the cocoa.

Add lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and eggplant. Cover pot and bring to a boil, keeping a close eye. Once it's boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, until lentils are tender and eggplant is soft. Mix in sugar. Taste for salt and seasoning.

I found this quite bitter the first day, with a slightly unpleasant cocoa taste. I've never added cocoa powder to chile before, and wondered if this was how it was supposed to taste. And I was worried, because I can't afford to throw out food, and I wondered how I might save this dish. But after a day in the fridge, when all the flavours had the chance to blend together,  I can vouch that it is absolutely DELICIOUS!!! I will definitely be making this again!!!

What did you have for dinner tonight?


  1. 4 hour commute... wow, that's crazy long! I bet you read a lot of books! lol! Glad your meal ended up being saved!! :)

    1. hah i wish i could read books on my commute. i bring my laptop or visual diary and do homework for school. a visual diary is a scrapbook of visual inspiration and written responses to our conceptual process homework. this week we are working on colour symbolism, so i had to find photos featuring the colour red, talk about what they represented, and then write about their opposite meanings. have scissors and glue stick, will travel!! i wish we had wifi on the train... i would use the time to look up recipes!!


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