Eggplant in a spicy sauce – pickling style
A great way to enjoy eggplant. Adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe.
You need: about 350g eggplant cut into 1cm thick slices or wedges (if using long, thin variety). If the eggplants are a bit bitter, you can sprinkle the slices with salt, leave for a while to draw out bitterness, then rinse and pat dry. with most shop-bought varieties, you can skip this step.
neutral-flavoured vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black onion (Nigella) or cumin seeds
2.5cm (1 inch) piece ginger, peeled & coarsely chopped
3x cloves garlic, peeled & halved
1x large (or several small) tomato/es
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F).
Place the eggplant slices or wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Brush or spray them all liberally with some vegetable oil and put into the hot oven. Once they are beginning to brown (about 10 minutes), flip them over and brush or spray the other side generously with the vegetable oil. Return to the oven until golden brown – about another 10-15 minutes. Turn them again if you feel you need to. Remove from oven and set aside.
Now place garlic and ginger in a blender and blitz until smooth.
Heat some more vegetable oil (about 2 tablespoons) in a deepish frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil has heated, add the fennel and cumin seeds. As soon as the seeds begin to look toasty and smell fragrant, add the chopped tomato, the whizzed up garlic and ginger, turmeric, coriander, cayenne pepper and salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture reduces a bit and becomes like a thick sauce.
Add the aubergine slices to the pan, stirring gently to make sure all the slices are bathed in the sauce. Lower the heat slightly and cook very gently for about 8 minutes.
Serve over steamed rice, as a side dish, or cold as a salad.