In a small glass bowl, mix together oil, chickpea flour, turmeric and asafetida. In the microwave on high-power cook for 90 seconds, stopping to stir halfway through. In another bowl, heat coconut on high for 90 seconds, stirring halfway through. Add coconut, ginger, salt and tamarind to chickpea mixture.
Rinse and dry eggplant, trim off ends then cut into 1-inch slices. Score one side of each slice in several places. Spread and press spice mixture into gashes; then put eggplant into a microwave-safe dish. Partially cover (waxed paper works) and heat on high for 6 minutes. Uncover and cook on high for 2 or 3 minutes, until very soft. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot or warm.
Note: * Can use frozen shredded coconut, which is available at Indian grocery stores. If you can't find this, you can use sweetened shredded coconut - soak it in hot water for a few minutes (to remove the excess sugar) then drain well.