Eggplants are a favorite across several cuisines worldwide. In India, eggplants are cooked several different ways, one of the most popular ones being "baingan bharta", in which the eggplant is charcoal roasted , peeled, mashed and mixed with oil and spices. That is yummy. In India, we also find baby eggplants which are most commonly stuffed with various spices and cooked. Again, there are several different ways to do this. Where I am from, which is Karnataka State in Southern India, we make a paste of coconut, roasted coriander and fenugreek seeds, red chillies ,stuff the cute little eggplants with it and slow cook it on the stove-top.
The name of this stuffed eggplant varies upon which kind of eggplant has been used. If you used the green baby eggplant, it is called "Gulla Sagle"and if purple eggplant has been used, it is called "Vaingana Sagle". I like them both!:) Some saute chopped onions in before adding the eggplants in. I like it without the onions and that's how I make it.It is pretty easy to make.
Baby Eggplant: 1 lb
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Dried red chillies: 4-6 medium sized ( depending on your spice level).
Tamarind: marble sized if using dry, 1/4 tsp if using the pulp.
Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds( methi seeds): 1/4 tsp
Water: 1/2-1 cup for grinding the paste.
Salt: as per taste
Jaggery/ brown sugar: 1 tsp
Roast separately the coriander seeds and fenugreek ( methi) seeds and keep aside.
In a blender/mixie/ food processor,grind together freshly grated coconut, dried red chillies, tamarind, salt and jaggery into a fine paste, using water to grind as required. When the paste is almost done, add in the roasted and cooled coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds.
Wash the eggplants thoroughly. Take each eggplant, hold it upside down and make 4-5 slits in it without cutting through the stem.
Using a teaspoon, take little of the ground paste and stuff it into the eggplant via the slits. Keep it aside on a plate upside down. Stuff all the eggplants in this manner.
Heat coconut oil in a frying pan/ sauté pan. Add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves.
Now place each of the stuffed eggplant in the pan upside down. Pour in the leftover ground paste.
Cover and cook on low flame until the eggplant is cooked until tender.
Serve hot with rice/ roti/flatbread/bread.
A favorite Amchi( konkani) combination with this is rice and Dalithoy( dal). Just awesome! I am bringing this typical Amchi dish to Fiesta Friday # 51 to my friends there.This will be something new for them all to try! The very creative Jhuls@thenotsocreativecook and the wonderful cook, Juju@cookingwithauntjuju are the co-hosts this weekend. Fiesta Friday is gearing up for it's first anniversary party!
Cooking made easy:
Eggplant once cut and left in air tends to get discolored ( it turns black). This can be prevented by putting the cut/sliced eggplants in salted water. Salted water is nothing but plain water to which 1/4 tsp salt has been added.
Tip for healthy living:
In Ayurvedic medicine, food plays a great role in healing. They classify different food groups based on their effects on the body upon consumption. They have food that is cooling to the body hence great to be consumed during summertime and if you have inflammation in your body; e.g: ash gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd etc. Then you have vegetables that produce heat in the body and are great winter foods; e.g: ginger. Now there are certain foods that impede healing and unfortunately eggplant is one if them. Therefore if an individual has inflammatory condition, surgery etc, it is recommended that they do not eat eggplant.
Food for thought:
A true lover always feels in debt to the one he loves. Ralph W. Sockman