This is a favorite dish of mine that used to be cooked perfectly by my father. I have to ask to him to try my version of it. Ha, I know that the chilies quantity will head way down.
We always used to have this vegetable with dal or some bland gravy. This dish takes care of the blandness and more, bursting with its tangy flavor and spices. I have made a big effort to keep the oil down. As we all know, eggplant has a big tendency to drink up oil. And this site is about using minimum oil.
Moving right on to the recipe.
2 lb small Indian eggplants
1/8 cup + 1 tbsp coriander seeds
15 dry whole red chilies,
1 golf ball size dried tamarind fruit
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/16 tsp asafoetida powder (hing)
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
In a small bowl, pour 1/2 cup warm water and soak the tamarind in that for about 10 minutes or so.
In the meanwhile, cut the eggplants into small cubes (1/2 inch size) after removing the stems. I prefer using the small Indian eggplants as they have a particularly good flavor, unlike for example Japanese eggplants that are harder but pretty bland in taste.
In a pan, add around 1/2 tsp of oil and place it on the gas stove. When the oil is hot add the coriander seeds and dry red chilies and stir it very well until they are roasted. Take off fire and let them cool. When cool, grind the ingredients to a coarse to fine consistency. Set aside.
In a large wok size pan, add the rest of the oil, and the black mustard seeds when the oil gets hot. As the mustard seeds start to pop, add the asafoetida powder, stir for a few seconds and add the eggplant. Stir well and cook on medium heat.
As the eggplant is cooking, mix the tamarind with the water and squeeze out all the juice and pulp from the tamarind. Separate the tamarind juice and pulp from its residue and seeds.
Once the eggplant is cooked, add the tamarind juice/pulp to it, as well as the ground coriander and red chilies powder. Mix well so that the ingredients blend into each other properly.
Serve hot with soup and basmati rice cooked al dente, or chapati/bread. Sweat out the heat from the chilies, have fun ! :-)