This dish involves preparing little Indian eggplants in a blend of pickling spices. It also works with other sorts of eggplant, but for the best effect I'd recommend the smaller the better. It can also be served hot or chilled which makes it ideal for all those "please bring a dish" kind of events that crop up at this time of year.
Here's how to make this Indian specialty which could probably fool my Italian grandmas into thinking they were eating an Italian dish.
Start off with a bit over a pound and a half of Indian or other small shaped eggplants.
Halve and then quarter them.
And sprinkle them with kosher salt.
Rub the salt over the eggplants and let them sit in the colander for 30 minutes to let any bitter juices drain out of the eggplant. Set all this aside. While it's draining, it's time to make the pickling spices.
In a food processor puree either 1/3 of a can of chopped tomatoes or 2 medium sized tomatoes
6 large shallots
A 1 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger.
In a deep skillet or kadhai, heat 3 Tbs of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot add the rinsed off eggplantpieces.
Cook them until they're browned on both sides.
Then put them back into the colander to drain off any excess oil.
Meanwhile back at the skillet/kadhai add:
1 tsp of fennel seed
1/2 tsp of kalonji (also known as black onion/nigella seed)
When the seeds start to pop, toss in the tomato paste mixture along with:
1 Tbs ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
The rest of the chopped tomatoes (about 3 or 4 more depending on size if you are using fresh)
Cook this tomato sauce until it thickens. This should take about 5 or 6 minutes.
Now toss in the eggplant pieces. Be careful of them, they should cook whole.
Put a cover on the pan and roast them gently for about 10 minutes or so.
When the eggplant is done, store it in the fridge. You can serve this either chilled or warm, making it the perfect one down, only 5 dishes left to go, Indian dinner party dish.
Next up, I go in search of The Long Green... beans that is!
Finally, for all of you who've asked about Patsy, she's out of the doghouse and definitely in shoe rehab. She realizes she has a problem with footwear and she's dealing with it. Meanwhile, Alan has come up with an ingenious method (I think) of keeping her out of my closets. For now, all is well.