Thursday, September 17, 2015

Eggplant, Sweet and Sour Indian Style

   We have so many eggplants this year, in so many different varieties (yeah, I went a little nuts there) that I have been nearly at a loss as to what to do with them all.  Fortunately Indian cuisine loves the eggplant and there are at least five times as many recipes for eggplant as the eggplants in my garden, and that's going some. Every day when we take our lunch break from writing, I go out to the garden to see what's up and I usually come back with eggplant.

So, I've done them spiced, roasted, how about sweet and sour. Whoa, you only thought sweet and sour was found in Chinese recipes?  Well, the Indians do sweet and sour too and it's amazing. What I like about cooking these recipes is that they're very, very, quick. Once the eggplant has been rubbed with salt to remove the bitter juices, it's rinsed and then the quick part. It's microwaved for 4 minutes which makes it soft enough to work with but not fully cooked. Sweet and Sour Eggplant is fast enough to get on the table when you don't want to mess around too long in a hot kitchen which makes it a great end of Summer, early Fall weather dish.

Sweet and Sour Eggplant

Here's What You Need:
2 large or 5 small Japanese eggplants
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 shallot finely chopped
2 Serrano chilies finely minced, seeds and all.
1 Tbs tamarind paste (lemon juice can substitute but tamarind can be found in most supermarkets)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbs ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs crumbled jaggery (Indian palm sugar) or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp garam masala

Here's What To Do:
Wash and slice the eggplants on the diagonal.

Place them in a collender and sprinkle them with kosher salt.

Rub the salt into the eggplant slices and let them sit for about 10 minutes to let the bitter juices drain out.

Rinse the salt off the eggplant and you are good to go.

Place the eggplant in a microwave-safe bowl with a cover and cook it for 4 minutes.

 While that's happening, mince the Serrano chilies together with the shallot and set them aside.

Halve the onion and cut it into thin slices, set it aside.

Heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil, (I use coconut oil) in a skillet or kadhai.
When the oil is hot, toss in the cumin seed and cinnamon stick.

As soon as they start to sizzle, add the onion slices.

Cook the onion slices until they start to turn golden. This takes about 8 minutes.
Add in the Serrano chilies and shallot.

Stir everything around well and saute it for about 30 seconds.
Take everything out of the kadhai and  into a bowl and set it aside.

Add the cooked eggplant to the pan.

Stir it around. This won't take long because you've already precooked it in the microwave. Had you not done this, the next step would take about 15 minutes or so to get the eggplant nice and soft.
Add the onion mixture back into the pan along with the ground coriander, cumin, and salt.

Cover the pan reduce the heat and cook for about 3 minutes to make sure all the flavors have blended.
Add in the tamarind paste (or lemon juice)...

...and the jaggery or brown sugar.

Mix everything around then toss in your chopped fresh cilantro.

Check the seasoning, and add more salt if you need to.
 Other than that...that's it.
You can serve it up.

This dish goes well with just a simple Basmati rice dish, and some chapatti, or it can also accompany any Western style meal. Even my eggplant (let's not say hating) husband liked this dish, and all the eggplants that have been set before him are starting to win him over. Actually I think he;s just relieved because of everything we planted this spring the only thing that didn't come up ...was the okra. So he's feeling pretty welll....good might be the word.

   Coming up next.,. the butternut squash is here, and there are a lot of fast and easy ways to cook those monsters. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. This getting made tomorrow itself. Don't have a garden so went and bought myself an aubergine.
    I am also trying out a new squash dish this weekend. If it is tasty will let you know.
    Keep dancing - and I love bhindi!!!!

  2. I know so little about Indian cuisine! Didn't know they used sweet and sour flavors.



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