You start by slicing the eggplant in 1/2" slices, rubbing it with oil, salt-and-peppering it, then popping it under the broiler for 4 minutes on the first side and 3 on the second. This gives slices that are a nice reddish color. These are quartered then tossed with salt, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, ground fennel, cayenne, and lime juice.
To finish, you heat up some oil in a frying pan, add a bit of cinnamon stick, then some curry leaves, and finally some sliced onion. When the onion has browned a bit, you add the spiced eggplant and stir for a few minutes. Then stir some in coconut milk and ground brown mustard seeds. Cook this for a few more minutes, correct any spices, and serve. This is actually quite a quick meal, and nothing is too difficult. But ...
- It was surprisingly bitter. We had trouble locating the source of this, but it seemed like while most of the eggplant in the dish was fine, some bits were nasty. I had bought two eggplants to make up the weight, thinking to use one and a half for this recipe and the rest for something later in the week. One of them, although it looked lovely on the outside, had a brown bit down through the middle from the stem-end. I discarded this, plus a bit extra, and sliced the rest. My guess is that even though I had discarded the part that looked bad and the rest looked fine, a nasty taste pervaded the entire eggplant. A dose of mango chutney mitigated this somewhat.
- The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. In the recipe prologue, Jaffrey says that the original recipe called for 2 teaspoons. Since we tend to like things hot, I used that amount. First bite, seconds of nothing, then wham! Good stuff! But only if you like it hot.
- I poured the 1 tablespoon of oil for coating the eggplant slices into a little dish and used my fingers to anoint the slices. There was lots left here, so I used that plus just a dab more to finish the dish.
- Two of us ate all of this dish, advertised as serving 3-4. Three maybe, four not, unless it were part of a larger meal.
After getting a taste of the heat, I quickly made of my favorite raita, Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint from Indian Cooking (p162), as a go-with. It's better if it gets to sit around and ripen a bit, but good enough when it's tossed together just before serving.
This curry made one of those brown Indian meals. (I find it a challenge to avoid monochrome plates of Indian food.) Not the most attractive meal served over plain basmati rice. We were both surprised and disappointed by the bitter taste, but I will try this again when eggplants are in season.
This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.