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Smokey Spiced Eggplant (Indian style)

Charring my eggplant

Charring my eggplant

I love eggplant! But it seems to me it’s one of those foods that needs the right recipe in order for it to shine. This is my absolute favourite eggplant recipe. A friend of mine showed me how to make it a few years ago, and ever since then, I have made it every other week. The friend who showed me this dish has always insisted that he does not believe in recipes, and so it took me a few tries before I was able to recreate it, but I am so happy with the outcome.

The method of roasting/charring the eggplant gives it an amazing smokey flavour and mixed with the onion and spices it creates a very unique and delicious dish which I usually pair with basmati rice.

Notes on cooking the eggplant:
1. You can either cook your eggplant on a barbecue or place it directly onto the element on your stove top. Depending on the type of stove top you have, this will work with varying degrees of success. I have an old electric coil element at home it works like a dream.

2. Your kitchen WILL become smokey. If it doesn’t then you will not get the delicious smokey flavour in your eggplant which is arguably the most important element of the dish. Make sure the area you are working in is well ventilated.

Ingredients:

2 medium to large eggplants
1 medium red onion, diced
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
10 fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil/ghee (not olive oil)
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/4 lemon

Charred eggplant with skin peeled off.

Charred eggplant with skin off.

Method:

1. Roast/charr your eggplants either on a barbecue or directly on the stove top element (no pan) for approximately 20 mins, turning regularly. Once they are completely soft in the middle (nearly to the point of falling apart) and charred on all sides, remove from the heat and set aside to cool enough to touch.

2. Once cool enough to touch, peel the skin off the eggplant, taking care to leave as much of the flesh as possible.

3. Meanwhile on medium heat, brown the onion in the oil/ghee until soft. Add the curry leaves and all the spices except the turmeric and stir briefly.

4. Turn the heat to low and add the eggplant. Using a fork, break the eggplant into long strips and the stir into the onion and spices. Add the turmeric, sugar and salt to taste then continue stirring.

5. Drizzle the lemon juice onto your eggplant then turn the heat off and serve with rice.

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