Eggplant, you either love it or hate it. Personally, I’m a lover of eggplant. Its relatively plain taste loves to be dressed up, especially by heavy Indian spices. My Mom’s eggplant curries are a thing of beauty, each bite bursting with flavor and spice, SO delicious.
Recently Ameya and I prepared and served an Indian meal in celebration of the completion of her social studies project on India. We planned the meal and went to the Indian grocery store to pick up our ingredients.
All the beautiful and unique produce available there intrigued me. We picked up mini Indian limes (30 of them!) which Ameya squeezed for Indian Limeade. What also caught my eye were these perfect miniature eggplants.
My parents have been away on an extended trip to India and we are desperately missing all the delicious meals they bring for us weekly. So I picked up the eggplant as a personal challenge to recreate one of my Mom’s famous curries.
I hemmed and hawed about what to do with the eggplants and then finally decided on stuffing them and then roasting them in our new cast iron pan. They came out looking… eggplanty. Cooked eggplant is not as beautiful as raw eggplant but I already knew this would be the case. The smell, however, was wonderful. Smoky, spicy and intriguing. I tasted it nervously; living up to my Mom’s recipes is intimidating to say the least! It was delicious. The eggplant literally melted in your mouth, tender and moist. And the spices shone through with the flavors packing the intended punch. Success!
Serve the eggplants with rice or corn tortillas. Just slice off the top stems and enjoy!
- 8 Indian eggplants, whole
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp ginger, finely shredded
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp amchur powder
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- salt, to taste
- To peel the tomatoes first put small, shallow X’s on the tops of them. Cover them with boiling water for a few minutes. Drain the water and let them cool. After this, the peels will come off easily. Dice the peeled tomatoes and set them aside.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot add onions, garlic and ginger. Sauté until the ingredients are soft and starting to brown.
- Add the diced tomatoes and turmeric, cumin seeds, salt and chili, coriander, amchur and cinnamon powders. Stir to combine. The mixture will be thick.
- When tomatoes have cooked and broken down, add garam masala. Cook for a few more minutes.
- In a blender, puree spiced tomato mixture with cilantro leaves.
- Prepare the eggplants by splitting them from the bottom up, forming an X. Be careful not to cut through the top stems as you want the eggplants whole.
- Generously stuff each eggplant with the purée. Do this gently using a small spoon.
- Place the eggplants in a cast iron pan. Use the remaining purée to coat each eggplant.
- Cook eggplants in an oven set to 400°. Turn the eggplants gently with tongs every 15 minutes for 1 hour and 15 minutes to, or until eggplants are tender and cooked through. This is to ensure the eggplant is thoroughly cooked on all sides. If you find the eggplants are burning, turn down the temperature of your oven to 350-375°.
- Serve with rice or corn tortillas. Cut off the stems before eating.