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Jan 21, 2012 08:38 AM

Cooking from SLOW COOKER Cookbooks

Let's pull out our slow cookers, and our slow cooker books, and search out the best recipes we can find to make use of this hands-off cooking method. Use this thread to post reports from any slow cooker book, or slow cooker recipes from more general cookbooks.

As per chowhound rules, you may summarize recipes, but please to not post a recipe verbatim. Also, since we will be cooking from several different books, please remember to include the book title, along with the recipe title and page number, in your post.

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  1. Fiery Eggplant - The Indian Slow Cooker, p. 104

    I'll get us started with a report about the third recipe I made from this book. Even though I made a major goof, I think this is the best thing yet that I've made from the book.

    This recipe has you take 15 small eggplants, cut into wedges, salt them and let drain for half an hour. Now, this is one area where I wish the author had given a little more information. How big is small? 15 is an awful lot, to go in the 4-5 qt cooker called for, so I assume she has a very small eggplant in mind - like the Asian ones that are actually egg-sized. Mine weren't quite supermarket giants, but they were "normal" eggplant. I used four, and a 3 (or maybe it's 3.5) quart slow cooker. It was filled to the tip top.

    So back to the recipe. After you eggplant has drained for 30 minutes, you rinse it and put it in the slow cooker. You then peel a few tomatoes, and whiz one of then in a food processor with a lot of garlic and ginger. Add that to the cooker. Then heat some oil and briefly fry some fennel and nigella seeds. Put the seeds and oil in the cooker. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, chopped, quite a lot of chopped green chiles, ground coriander, turmeric, red chile powder, and salt. Toss that all together. The recipe instructs you to cook on high for 4 hours, then low for 3 hours more.

    I made this overnight, so I sure wasn't going to get up at 1am and turn the slow cooker down. I cooked it at high for about an hour, then turned it to low and went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, one of the first thoughts that came into my mind was that I'd left out the chile powder! Dang. When I checked on the eggplant, it was nicely soft, and had reduced in volume. It smelled fantastic. I packed some up for my lunch, and refrigerated the rest.

    So despite leaving out the red chile powder, this was spicy and delicious. Something happens to this eggplant in the slow cooker, and the recipe is really more than the sum of its parts. I was surprised that the eggplant had a somewhat tangy taste. I am still wondering where that came from. The only thing acidic added was the tomato, and I skimped on that, using two small romas. Interesting.

    If I had made this exactly according to directions, I think "fiery" would have been an apt description. I assume I was using a bit less eggplant than called for. For the green chiles, I used jalapenos, which were huge, so I only used four of them. It just seemed like the right amount, and I would say it was. My dish was spicy, but not incendiary. If I had added the red chile powder, it would have been quite hot. Next time I will add it, but the dish had plenty of flavor without. Overall, a big winner that I will be making again, especially in the summer when I always seem to get overrun with eggplant.

    8 Replies
    1. re: MelMM

      Mel reading your review made my mouth water! I have to give this recipe a try. Thanks so much for pointing it out.

      1. re: MelMM

        Two weeks ago I bought about 6 Indian eggplants. This is the shape.

        I'd like to make this recipe this month - and the next time I get to the market, hopefully they'll have these. They were perfectly ripe, one overly ripe. To me, it's hard to tell when an eggplant is just at the right stage - but then again, perhaps that is not of importance.

        1. re: Rella

          I am intrigued by the fiery eggplant dish described above. I am going to try it based on your detailed instructions above Mel. Thank you.

        2. re: MelMM

          This recipe is certainly adaptable! I got a late start and had a bowl full after dinner.
          The eggplants cut through easily with a fork. Just like butter! They looked sort of like a dish of dried shiitaki mushrooms cooked slowly for hours in soy sauce. The skins even were delicious.

          I used 15 small Indian eggplants. The skins even were delicious which I'm happy about because there certainly was a lot of skin - see pic of these sweethearts. I cooked 4 hours on high, then 3 hours on low. I am happy with my new slow cooker in that the high is not too high and the low is not too low.

          I did not use a food processor to make the puree. I cut the 3 ingredients to be pureed very fine and added it. I did peel the tomatoes.

          Spices: I halved the garlic, oil, fennel seed, kolonji, coriander, tumeric. I 1/4'd the 'red chile powder.' As to the amount of fresh chiles, I used One; yes, I said One :-)) Thai.

          There were two reasons I reduced all the spices and hot chiles; one, I was not certain as to the weight of the eggplant she was basing the recipe spices upon; two, I felt that the hot ingredients were too hot for my taste.

          I bought a new type of rice - I've been using basmati forever - but this looked pretty good to me from Costco - Sona Masoori - reasonably priced, too.

          I'll be looking forward to eating this tomorrow with rice - can't wait for more.

          1. re: Rella

            Love it. Thanks for the report. I really liked your picture of the little Indian eggplants. That is surely the size the author intends, but I wish she gave a weight or even a volume amount, so we would know when we had the right amount relative to the seasoning.

            I also loved that the skin got tender. Even with my larger, but not huge, eggplants, I had skin on every piece, and it was great that it was totally soft and it never felt like you were eating skin.

            I'm generally very happy with this book, it's just a matter of making sure I have the right cooking time, and adjusting the heat a bit to my own taste.

            Did yours have a tangy taste? Mine did and I haven't figured out where it came from. I went a little light on the tomato, so I don't think that was enough to do it.

            1. re: MelMM

              No, mine did not have a tangy taste. The tomatoes I used were certainly not the ripest of plum tomatoes; typical of this time of year, but certainly normal.

              I like this book, too. However, I see that I am going to have to temper the spices. Not speaking of this eggplant recipe but another one: 5-10 green Thai, serrano or cayenne chiles per recipe, plus 1 heaping tablespoon of red chile powder, plus 20 cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of garam masala is much more heat than I can handle.

              Oh, oh! I'm wondering if it was the tumeric in the "Fiery Eggplant" that could have caused the tangy taste. Hmmm -- I'll just bet!

              1. re: Rella

                turmeric is what i'd describe as "earthy," and not "tangy."

                and wow! that IS A LOT OF FIREPOWER in those spice levels -- for JUST that amount of eggplant?

                i had to look up "kalongi"-->

                """In English, Nigella sativa seed is variously called fennel flower, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, blackseed or black caraway. Other names used, sometimes misleadingly, are onion seed and black sesame, both of which are similar-looking, but unrelated.
                The seeds are frequently referred to as black cumin (as in Assamese: kaljeera or kolajeera or Bengali kalo jeeray), In south Indian language Kannada it is called "Krishna Jeerige", but this is also used for a different spice,


                It is used as part of the spice mixture paanch phoran or panch phoron (meaning a mixture of five spices) and by itself in a great many recipes in Bengali cookery and most recognizably in naan bread.

                Nigella sativa has a pungent bitter taste and smell. It is used primarily in confectionery and liquors. Peshawari naan is, as a rule, topped with kalonji seeds. Nigella is also used in Armenian string cheese, a braided string cheese called Majdouleh or Majdouli in the Middle East.""""""

            2. re: Rella

              The fiery eggplant heated wonderfully on the new induction hob I bought last week at Costco $49.99. It is a few inches smaller than the other induction hub I have.

              Before I heated the eggplant, I used the hub/hob to make some ghee/clarified butter, then heated the eggplant in the same pan.

              The Sona Masoori Indian rice is absolutely wonderful. Even though I like many types of rice, this is a little different and organic as well. I'm hoping this is a product that Costco will keep in stock.

              I'll not be making paneer until the calves are born at the farm where I buy milk.
              I saw paneer for sale at the Indian market last week, two different brands, but it didn't appeal to me.

              Today I served a feta cheese (not Greece) which was not as strong as the Greece/in-a-box at Costco. Also a tasty orange; I ate half, then put a little Himalyan salt on the second part - made a totally different taste and was wonderful.

              Green beans steamed in the steamer rack on top of the rice.

          2. Thanks so much for creating this thread and kicking us off with a delicious sounding dish Mel.

            I thought I'd paste a link to my review & photos of the first dish I've tried from the Indian Slow Cooker book in case folks are interested:

            Dry Spiced Dal - p. 68 - The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla


            - we thoroughly enjoyed this dish and it comes together in no time.

            1. Thank you, MelMM. Your timing is impeccable. I'm planning to try this Spiced Basmati Rice Breakfast Cereal from Alley's Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker tonight. Winter in Minnesota means darn cold mornings, especially if you've got to get up and shovel your way out of the driveway first thing. So, there's nothing better than a hot breakfast ready to go...

              I'll let you all know in the morning how it goes.

              If anyone is interested, I have this Hamilton Set and Forget Slow Cooker. It's $40 on Amazon. I like it because it has a removable crock (almost all modern ones do), and you can set the cooking time in half hour increments after which it switches to warm. It has the temperature probe for meat which I basically never use. Its best feature is portability. I have an annual event every winter (coming up in the next month actually) where I bring my slow cooker. The latching lid and spoon holder are perfect on the go.


              4 Replies
              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Spiced Basmati Rice Breakfast Cereal from Alley's Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker

                Eh, so we tried this recipe last night. Super easy, but only about a 4 out of 10. She gives the option of making the rice with soy milk or water. We used water. 1 1/2 c of brown basmati rice (rinsed) and 3 1/2 cup water. Set your cooker to low and let it go for 8 hours. Ours went for 8 hours and then we let it sit on "warm" for about an hour an a half. The rice was gummy (which I imagine is how it's supposed to be) and crusty right around the edge of the crock (which I imagine was as a result of letting it sit on warm for an hour and a half). She then has you add some freshly ground cinnamon and cardamom and some raisins. (I used golden raisins.)

                After about 15 minutes she has you serve it up sprinkled with chopped (we used sliced) toasted almonds (or walnuts) and shaved coconut (we used shredded because that all we could find, milk or cream (we used half and half), and drizzled with honey.

                It was fine as a change of pace but nothing crave worthy and not that filling. I'll probably not bother with this again. I prefer Steel Cut Oats in the slow cooker...


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Sorry this was "eh". How do you do your steel cut oats in the SC?

                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                    A variation of this: It's like pumpkin pie oatmeal.

                    I've got my eye on this recipe from Slow Cooker Revolution:

                    I want to try the banana and walnut variation he mentions. I imagine it will be like banana walnut bread, but oatmeal...


              2. I am looking at the spices in the "Indian" book. It lists 'Black Salt" (kala namak). It shows a picture on p 22, which looks like powder form to me. Have any of you used it?


                2 Replies
                1. re: Rella

                  I bought this for our Indian COTM month. Had no problem finding it at an Indian market.

                  1. re: Rella

                    Yes, I've used it and it does come in a fine powder. As smtucker said, easy to find in an Indian market.

                    It has a slightly sulfurous aroma, you'll recognize it immediately if you've enjoyed chaat masala. I don't have a lot of other applications, using it mainly when a recipe specifically calls for it, but I've been able to purchase it in small packets, and it doesn't seem to go stale as with dried herbs and other spices.

                  2. Glad to see this thread up! I will link to the review I posted on the Essential Pepin COTM thread for Puerto Rican Pork and Beans adapted to the slow cooker. This worked beautifully in the slow cooker. All leftovers got eaten enthusiastically.


                    Looking forward to more slow cooking during the week. I think I will be cooking something new from Mexican Everyday....

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                      Ah... Great minds, Greeneggsnham. I'm cooking his Slow Cooked Pork in my slow cooker as we speak. The meat marinated overnight in a plastic bag, then earlier this morning G roughed chopped an onion and threw everything into the insert. Cooking it on low till whenever. We'll be watching the Patriots whop that other team... then the Giants game later. Nothing must interfere.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Sounds great, Gio. Is that the Slow Cooked Anchiote Pork? Let us know how it is. It certainly looks succulent in the pic in the book.

                        I think I am going to try the Chicken a la Veracruzana this week. I am still looking for a good slow cooker recipe for Chicken. Crossing my fingers...

                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                          The roast was wonderful, GENH...Really care-free cooking. It cooked on Low for about 8 hours. We made sandwiches with the slices because it was the easiest thing to do and we were watching The Game. Will definitely make this again...

                          Here's my report on the Essential Pepin Meat, etc. thread: