New year is just around the corner and with the party preparations going on in everyone’s house, my kitchen is cooking up some Indian delicacies 🙂 For today, i decided to throw some light on this gorgeous vegetable which is proudly known as the king of all vegetables in India…Eggplants ! This dish would be a great alternative to the meaty, filling dishes you can prepare for your vegetarian guests and serve it with an assortment of flatbreads and/or rice ! So, lets take a walk to the land of curries and prepare a light and subtly scented eggplant curry with five spice blend.
Eggplants/ brinjals or aubergines are a great “meat replacement” for vegetarians and vegans. Very versatile and part of many an International palate, this vegetable finds a very lovable place in Indian curries and stews as well.
I have always had a soft spot for Eggplant. I make all sorts of things with eggplants and it keeps surprising me 🙂 My latest obsession has been roasting these in the oven or grilling them and using it as fillers for wraps and sandwiches. This time though, i got a bunch of baby eggplant (the Indian varieties) and i thought of going the traditional way.
Now, me being from the northern part of India, the first thought is always to make a stir fry like this one Aubergine Masala (recipe here) which is my all time favorite to devour with pipping hot Parathas (Indian flatbreads) or Naans. This time, i thought about taking a culinary trip down to the south of India and infuse the eggplant with some southern spices and coconut. I have tried the combination of coconut with eggplant before in a red thai curry (recipe here) and it was phenomenal. I have lately been putting in big portions of eggplants in my thai curry and it has made me really happy 🙂
Now, without further adieu, lets dive into this dish right away and enjoy the oh so beautiful combination of some amazing spices 🙂
Indian eggplant in five spice blend
Indian eggplant in five spice blend
- 8- 10 small, Indian variety Eggplants (Slit then lengthwise into 4 leaving the stems on so that they remain intact and held together)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk / buttermilk
- Water as required
- 3 tablespoons Oil (peanut oil recommended but i used vegetable oil and that works)
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 1.5 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fenugreek
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 5-7 curry leaves (optional)
- 2-3 whole dried red chillies
- 2-3 fresh green chillies (slit lengthwise)
For peanut. coconut . sesame paste
- 10-12 raw peanuts
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoon grated coconut (fresh grated coconut is recommended but dried unsweetened coconut works just fine too)
- 2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium onion , roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon oil
We will begin with creating the peanut. coconut . sesame paste
- Take a pan. Dry roast the sesame seeds, dry coriander seeds and coconut shaving till a light golden brown and remove from the pan. Keep aside.
- Now, add oil to this pan and bring to heat.
- Now, add in the raw peanuts and roast it to a light golden brown. remove and keep aside.
- Next up, add in the cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add in chopped onions and let it cook till transparent.
- Add in ginger, garlic, turmeric powder, red chili powder and tamarind paste. Mix it . Let this saute for a minute. The paste mixture is done. Keep aside and let it cool down.
- Once it has cooled down, blend to a smooth paste using a mixie. The peanut. coconut. sesame paste is ready.
Now, we begin with cooking the eggplants.
- Begin with taking a pan. To this, add in the oil and bring to heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add in the five spice blend (cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, fennel and nigella seeds) and bring to heat till it crackles. Next, add in the curry leaves, whole red chilies and saute for a few seconds.
- Now, to this, add in the paste and cook for about 5 minutes on simmer (The oil will be released from this spicy mixture paste by this time).
- Next up, add in the slit eggplants and add 1/2 cup of water and let it come to a boil.
- Once it boils, add in the coconut milk, slit green chilies and combine well. Cover with a lid and let this cook till the eggplant is cooked to a tender.
- The Indian Eggplant in five spice blend is ready. Serve with fresh naan or a plate of fresh, fluffy basmati rice. Enjoy !
This dish tastes amazing. The exotic spice blend creates a harmony of flavours. This was the first time i tried this with eggplants and i was happy to have done this. Usually i would just cut into discs and pan roast them or make them into a sir fry dish like this – Aubergine Masala (recipe here) or use them as a filling for my lasagnes or crepes like this – Ratatouille Crepes (recipe here), but this was so different from my usual ways. This south Indian spin works well with fluffy idlis, dosas or even basmati rice. Make this today and i am sure u will love the flavours this dish has to offer.