Can I say that I am in love with eggplants? Or perhaps a better word would be obsessed. When I got married, a gazillion years ago, the man of my dreams loved everything I cooked except he would not even touch eggplants. No matter what I did, which recipe, nothing worked. It was just a no. He just didnt like it, was his explanation. Now you cannot be married to a crazy, eggplant-obsessed person and say that you dont like eggplant. Just doesnt work. I kept trying and then one day, just to make me happy (or get me off his back), he tried a bite of a roasted eggplant and yogurt dip I made. Ah! I thought he would convert instantly. Well….
It has taken 17 years and now he loves eggplant as much as I do. Just goes to show you, that if you live (and cook) long enough, you see everything.
Here is one of my all-time fav eggplant recipes. It is a recipe I learned from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and is adapted from the original one.
Almond Filled Eggplant
Serves 4 – 6
6 baby eggplants
4 tablespoons Indian chickpea flour (besan)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely ground almonds
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground mango powder
Salt to taste
Here we go – Normally, I avoid anything in the kitchen that uses string but I had to try this as it sounded so amazing.
1. Slit the eggplants while keeping them together at the roots. Set aside
2. In a small skillet, heat the flour and cook (stirring) for a minute or so until fragrant. Set aside.
3. Rinse and dry the skillet, now add and heat a tablespoon of oil. Saute the shallots until they are browned and soft. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
4. In a bowl, combine the flour, cilantro, ground almonds, all the spices and salt. Mix well. Using your hands or a spoon, fill this mixture into the eggplants. Tie a kitchen thread around the eggplant to hold it together.
5. Continue until all the eggplants are filled and secured.
6. Heat the rest of the oil in a large skillet. Gently place the eggplants in the hot oil. Cook for about 3- 4 minutes on each side until well-browned. (FLip only once as the eggplant will fall apart otherwise).
7. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes on the lowest heat setting until the eggplant is totally cooked and very tender.
8. Serve with the shallots and a side of rice.