On a recent visit to New Jersey, I visited with some old friends for dinner. Avanti, my friend’s wife, a great cook and originally from Maharashtra (in Western India) whipped up a feast in virtually no time. One of the highlights of the meal was a dry dish made with big chunks of potato and whole baby eggplants. I had had something similar before when my mother-in-law had cooked it. But as much as I love eggplants I had stayed away from this one, primarily because I was always unsure of how long to cook the darned thing since eggplants and potatoes take different times to cook. Anyway, not to worry, Avanti demystified the dish for me.
And so, when I returned to Dallas to find that I still had some baby eggplants left over from a previous visit to the Farmer’s Market, I had to try and make it. It was surprisingly easy and very tasty. Thanks for the recipe Avanti. Here it is.
INGREDIENTS (for 4 people)
4-6 baby eggplants – washed and a cross slit cut in them from the bottom almost to the top where the stem is.
1 large potato – peeled and diced into big chunky cubes (about an inch and a half to a side). Immerse in water for 20 minutes and then drain the water to lose some of the starch.
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 dry red chili
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1. Dry roast the dry roasted peanuts till they start to brown. Set aside to cool.
2. Dry roast the cumin, coriander and red chili. Set aside to cool.
3. Grind the peanuts and the other spices, add the turmeric and salt.
4. Stuff the ground masala made in step 3 into the slits in the eggplant and generously coat the potatoes with it.
5. Heat oil in a vessel with a tight fitting lid on medium heat and add the potatoes and eggplant. Stir a few times and cover.
6. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook covered till the potatoes and eggplants have softened. And you are done.
7. Serve with a bread of your choice.