9–10 baby eggplants, tops cut off and slit lengthwise
1/4 cup peanuts, shelled
3 tbsp unsweetened coconut powder
3 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika powder
1 lemon sized piece of seedless tamarind, soaked in 1 cup of warm water for 20 minutes
1 big onion, sliced finely
4 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1–2 green chillies
A sprig of cilantro leaves
3 + 3 tbsp cooking oil
Shallow fry the eggplants in 3 tbsp oil and keep aside. (5 minutes)
Fry the sliced onions in the same oil until golden brown and take out.
Pass the tamarind through a fine sieve, discard the solids and keep the water.
Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut powder and cumin seeds separately on low heat till golden. Mix with the fried onions.
Put the ingredients of step 4 in a blender along with the tamarind water and whizz them to make a puree.
Heat the remaining 3 tbsp oil and add ginger-garlic paste, puree (step 5 above), coriander, turmeric, Kashmiri chilli and salt. Sauté for one minute.
Add the fried eggplants plus 2 cups of water, stir once, cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes. Check once or twice to see that the curry does not stick to the bottom.
The eggplant curry is done when the curry thickens and the oil separates. Add the green chillies and cilantro leaves and serve hot.
Kashmiri chilli is a mild variety of chilli powder. It has a fiery red colour which is very appealing in curries. Since you’re also adding green chillies, Kashmiri chilli is perfect for this recipe. It is available in Indian stores, but if you can’t find it, use regular red chilli but reduce the quantity.
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