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  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice

  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric

  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¼ cup peanut oil

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced

  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced

  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • ⅓ cup tomato paste

  • 1 small can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, preferably roasted

  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water

  • ½ cup natural unsweetened peanut butter (creamy or chunky)

  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, 6 to 8 ounces, quartered lengthwise, then sliced ​​½ inch thick

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)

  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish

  • Chopped salted roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)


In a colander, combine the eggplant with 1 teaspoon of salt; set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain well and set aside. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper; put aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring often, until tender-crisp and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a large bowl, leaving the oil in the pan. Bring to a high heat and add the eggplants. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with the shallots.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger and peppers and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds longer. Add onion and cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add diced tomatoes, broth or water, eggplant, shallots and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Place the peanut butter in a medium bowl, add a ladle or two of hot soup and stir until emulsified, then pour the mixture into the soup.

Reduce heat to simmer, add zucchini, cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Cool slightly and enjoy; add salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with rice, garnished with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts if desired.

About Leslie Schwartz

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