Gingery Eggplants in Coconut Sauce
Servings: 4 servings
- 1 large onion , cut into thin slices
- 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
- 1 tbsp finely grated garlic (you can also just put it through a garlic press)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 8 small , round eggplants (make two cross cuts from the top almost all the way to the base, without cutting through the eggplant.) You can also use 1 large eggplant instead, cut into slivers about an inch long (I find the small, round eggplants at the Indian or Asian stores in my neighborhood. They have a thinner skin and firmer flesh. Italian or Japanese eggplants are also fine for this dish)
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 4 cloves
- 1 1- inch piece of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1 tsp fenugreek or methi seeds (you can leave these out if you absolutely can't find them, but they have a really pleasant bitterness that's amazing in this dish. They are also really good for you.)
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 2 dry red chillies
- 1 tbsp jaggery (an unrefined Indian sugar. Use regular or brown sugar if you can't find this)
- 3 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
Place the eggplants in an ovensafe dish large enough so it can hold the eggplants in a single layer. Sprinkle with some salt and half the turmeric. Drizzle 1 tsp of the oil, toss to coat, and place in a 400-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until the eggplants are soft but not completely cooked.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds and toast until they start to get darker. Add the peanuts and toast until the peanuts start to get lightly golden. Remove to a plate.
Add the coconut to the skillet and toast, stirring constantly, just a few seconds until the coconut starts to get lightly brown. Don't leave the coconut on the stove unattended because it will burn in an instant.
Place the toasted spices and peanuts, coconut, jaggery, and the remaining turmeric in a blender. Add enough water and blend into a very smooth paste.
Heat the last 1 tsp of oil in the saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they sputter, add the sliced onions. Saute them until they start to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and saute another minute.
Add the ground spices and when the come to a boil, add the eggplants. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.
When the sauce boils, turn down the heat so it just simmers, slap on a lid, and cook about 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant is really tender.
Add salt to taste. Garnish with some fresh coriander.
Serve hot with some chapatis, rotis, or with some dal and rice.