It was an accidental attempt to remake something that I had tasted when visiting my husband’s family in Northern India. I have gotten a better handle of their flavors these days, however interestingly enough this supposed recapture became quite a hit. It cooks for just a little on the stove and then gets finished off in the oven, gently simmering and softening in its own sauces.
In fact, this has gotten a nod from a lot of purists if I do not tell them of my unconventional ways.
My husband is the oldest in his family, so I have been the undisputed Bhabi or elder sister-in-law to almost every family member his generation and now I even have an eggplant recipe to show for it.
It has been a week where I have been trying to stay on top of things. That is the only way I cope with multiple priorities, to my credit, I do it better than some, but I still get exhausted. Today, my bright note of the day was a mention for the book. It often is like the kids doing something interesting, like getting an essay right, it brightens my day.
So now back to the eggplant, I realize we call these eggplants baby eggplants, the only problem being I thing they really are mini eggplants, because they do not grow any bigger and tend to get small and seedy if left alone too long. So, I snag some anytime I see the really tender varieties in the India grocery store. They can be made with Japanese eggplants as well, you will just have less of a “cute” factor! Well, to be honest, the taste might be a tad different since you will be changing the spice to eggplant surface area, ratio.
My variation of spice stuffed eggplants inspired by the flavors of northern India.
- 2 pounds baby tender eggplants (about 15 to 20)
- 2 teaspoons panch phoron (Bengali Five Spice) powdered
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
- 3/4 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium red onion, cut into a dice
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 2 tomatoes, cut into a fine dice
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro for garnishing
- 1. Cut the eggplants halfway, almost all the to the top but do not separate from the top. Repeat the same on the other side, so in other words, cut into quarters.
- 2. Make a paste with the panch phoron powder, yogurt, amchur, red chili powder and salt.
- 3. Gently smear generously into the eggplants. Note, depending on the size of eggplants you might need more spice mixture, in which case increase in the same proportion mentioned.
- 4. Set this aside for about 30 minutes.
- 5. Heat the oil on medium heat for about a minute and add in the onion and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until the onions are fairly soft.
- 6. Add in the ginger and the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are nice and soft.
- 7. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees and line the eggplants in a single layer in a casserole.
- 8. Top the eggplants with the freshly prepared sauce and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. The eggplants should be nice and soft with a thick coating sauce that has meshed and married the stuffing spices.
- 9. Serve the eggplants with chapatis.