This is an adopted recipe that I haven't yet tried. The original chef comments: "My good friend’s Indian mother-in-law taught me how to cook this. Auntie (I call her Auntie) is from Hyderabad, is one of the best cooks I know and is very patient! There are a few steps to this recipe and you need some special ingredients, but it is really good, authentic South Indian cuisine. I’m posting some photographs with this recipe so you can see what these ingredients look like. They can all be found at an Indian grocery. Everything is listed in the order in which you will use it. Be brave; if you are patient, willing to take your time and have everything ready before hand, you will be rewarded with a delicious result. (Prep time is approximate and could be a little longer)."
- 1⁄2 cup dry coconut powder
- 3 tablespoons white poppy seeds
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 4 tablespoons channa dal, roasted
- 1⁄2 cup roasted peanuts
- 12 small eggplants, about the size of an egg
- 1⁄4 cup oil, plus
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- In a cast iron or other heavy skillet, roast coconut powder, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and cumin seeds over low heat until light brown.
- Remove from pan to stop the cooking and cool.
- Put this coconut mixture in a food processor and process until it’s grainy, reserve in a dish.
- Grind the roasted channa dal in a spice grinder until it is a fine powder and add to the coconut mixture.
- In a food processor, process the peanuts until they are coarsely ground.
- Wash and stem the eggplants.
- Cut each eggplant 2/3 into the wide end up to the stem – making an “X” – leave the stem end intact.
- Heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet and cook the eggplants on low until soft.
- In a separate pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil to medium hot.
- Add the 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds to the hot oil.
- In a matter of seconds they will begin to pop – add the onions and stir.
- When the onions are beginning to brown, add the ginger garlic paste and the turmeric, cumin, coriander powder, chili powder and salt.
- Stir the spices into the onion then add the tomatoes.
- Stir in the tomatoes then add the coconut mixture along with the peanuts.
- Add the eggplants and 1 cup of the water.
- Stir and cook over low heat, covered for about 20 minutes.
- Add water a little at a time to maintain a nice smooth consistency.
- Add garam masala and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the chopped fresh coriander – stir.
- Check to see that it is salted to your taste.
- Put in a serving dish and garnish with the remaining chopped coriander.
This is one of the nicest vegetarian curries I have ever had (and I have tried quite a few). It had a beautiful nutty coconut flavor. I didn't want to go to an indian store and buy special ingredients, so I roasted my own chickpeas for the roasted channa dal. I opened up a can of chickpeas and roasted a few on a tray in the oven, until they were hard and a bit brown, and I ground them in the spice grinder. I added the leftover chickpeas into the curry when I added the eggplants and they added a really nice texture and flavor to the curry (so I will keep adding them in the future when I make this curry again). I also just roasted store bought dessicated coconut in a fry pan and ground it in my spice grinder, I think it worked well and it didn't add any significant sweetness to the dish (and it smelt beautiful while I was roasting it in the fry pan). All the other ingredients such as the poppy seeds and sesame seeds, I could just find in my local supermarket. I am adding this recipe to my regular meal rotation.
This is a very good recipe. Basically, it is the coconut powder that makes this outstanding. I made a lot of changes: substitued eggplants with okra (bhindi), and added a lot of potatoes as well. Added lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and increased the amount of freshly-chopped coriander (dhania). When it was all done, I felt some more coconut milk was still needed, so added a few tablespoons of that. Salted to taste with sea salt. Next time I would decrease the amount of coriander and cumin powder, especially if your garam masala mix already contains those two powders (has anyone else noticed that the coriander & cumin powder adds too much of a hard/harsh edge to the taste--like it's almost bitter?). Overall, this dish turned out brilliantly: tangy, spicy, and with a heavenly, subtle taste of coconut.
Best Eggplant Curry I've ever tried!! Thanks for sharing!