Eggplant is one of my favourite vegetables. This mouthwatering spicy dish is served in Sri Lanka on special occasions such as weddings. So good is it that I would happily eat it every day of the week if not for the high oil content. Definitely not one for calorie counters! It is usually served with a chicken curry and saffron rice. I love it hot, but cold the next day, it is sensational. If you wish, prior to cooking, you can cut each eggplant lengthwise into quarters, sprinkle with the salt and leave uncovered in a single layer for thirty minutes. Rinse the eggplant under a cold tap, pat-dry with kitchen paper, and slice into 1" cubes as directed below. I personally don't bother with the salting process. If you prefer to use baby eggplant, just slice crosswise into 1" cubes. Recipe obtained from a Sri Lankan friend.
- 21 ounces large eggplants
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, extra
- 1⁄2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 2 green chilies, chopped (optionally seeded to reduce the heat)
- 10 fresh curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon malt vinegar or 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
- 1⁄3 cup coconut milk
- 1⁄2 teaspoon brown sugar
- Wash the eggplants, remove the stalk, and slice lengthwise into quarters.
- Cut each quarter lengthwise into 1" wide strips and then crosswise into 1" cubes.
- Heat 1-2 inches of peanut oil in a wok to medium-high heat (375F) and deep-fry the eggplant cubes in batches until golden brown (this takes around three to five minutes for each batch, adjusting oil temperature as necessary).
- Drain thoroughly on kitchen paper.
- In a medium-sized pan, heat the extra oil and saute and stir the onion until golden brown.
- Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and mustard and stir for a couple of seconds before adding the garlic, ginger, chillies and curry leaves.
- Stir and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the vinegar, coconut milk, salt to taste and the sugar and stir until well mixed.
- Bring slowly to the boil before adding the deep-fried eggplant cubes.
- Stir, then simmer gently on low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Taste and season with a little more sugar and/or salt as desired.
This didn't quite make the 5 star mark for me but it was almost there. I thought that the seasoning was spot on, my problem was the coconut milk. It might be a proper curry with it but I would have given 5 stars if I had left it out.
BrianH is one of my fav. chefs- so when I saw HE liked this one, I had to try it- and I am so glad I did. It looks slightly intimidating but this was an easy dish to do. And way tasty. It is ALMOST like a dish we love at a Boston restaurant- Bombay Club- but less greasy and no tomato. I will play with this recipe but it's great as-is also. Eggplant takes on a new sweetness and it's just so good. We ate the entire batch, the 2 of us. I did extra-spice a bit, as per Brian's suggestion, and also, didn't deep fry- I pan fried the eggplant, drained, and to soften, I simmered, covered, over low heat with all of the other ingredients for about 25 minutes. Perfection.