My stride sharpens, my vision brightens as I leave. I have a plan for the following week. The baby eggplants I have been dreaming of creating a repertoire with, are coming home with me.
My visits to The Indian Shop are nearly always dominated by Indian vegetables ‘over-riding’ my trolley, leaving very less room for little else. No regrets what so ever though. The joyous relief this brings is worth the ‘ride’. This occasion was no exception.
The tender cooked juicy earthy eggplant, in this Stuffed Eggplant Gravy with added spices, the sweet nuttiness of coconut, the tang from the tamarind, served with a flat bread or hot steaming rice, is sure to tingle any taste bud to submissiveness.
Add this delicious south Indian gravy encompassing the favorite of many, to your menu.
baby eggplants – 7-8
salt to taste
oil – 2-3 tsp
mustard seeds – 1 tsp
yellow split peas – 1 tsp (chana dal)
de-husked split black gram – 1 tsp (urad dal)
asafoetida – 1 pinch
dry red chili – 1 broken into 2
curry leaves – a few
oil – 1 tsp
coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
yellow split peas – 3/4 tbsp (chana dal or Bengal gram dal)
de-husked black gram – 3/4 tbsp (urad dal)
cumin seeds – 1 tsp
dry red chilies – I used 3 mild red chilies and 1 spicy dry red chili ( adjust to tolerance)
asafoetida – 1/2 tsp
freshly grated coconut – 3/4 cup
tamarind pulp – 1 small lemon size
first dry roast the freshly grated coconut in a pan until it turns golden brown and fragrant. take care not to burn.
wipe the pan with an absorbent paper towel, heat 1 tsp of oil
to this add the coriander seeds, yellow split gram, de-husked black gram, cumin seeds, asafoetida, dry red chilies. roast for 2-3 minutes or until a good aroma emanates and the yellow lentils turn golden.
remove the roasted spices onto a plate. allow them to cool.
once cooled, grind the spices along with grated roasted coconut with the tamarind adding small amount of water to form a thick paste.
once the stuffing is ready, wash the egg plants and slit them at right angles cutting from the base all the way through but retaining the stalk in place holding it together.
now stuff the prepared paste into the slits filling up the space fully on all sides. repeat the same with the rest of the eggplants.
again clean the same pan used above with an absorbent paper towel.
heat the oil mentioned under tempering.
splutter mustard seeds, add yellow split peas, split black gram, asafoetida, 1 dry red chili, curry leaves, stir until the lentils turn golden.
now carefully place all the stuffed egg plants one side down in the pan.
cover and cook at med-high heat until the side develops browning. now carefully turn each piece to allow other sides to cook.
then, lower the heat, cover and cook until the egg plants are cooked and soft.
now add the remaining stuffing with some added water (1/4 to 1/2 cup), salt, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes. stir carefully once or twice turning the egg plants.
once done, serve with steaming hot rice or with any flat bread or as an accompaniment to a meal.