- 15- 20 baby eggplants
- 2 onions roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 2-3 red chillies (or more)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 3 tbsps desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp thick tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp jaggery
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 8-10 curry leaves
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsps oil
Wash and dry the purple eggplants. Keep the stalks.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the fenugreek, coriander and cumin seeds and red chillies one after the other. Then add the onions and garlic and fry till translucent. Add the asafoetida and turmeric. The spices will also get roasted in this time. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Transfer this mixture into a grinder and add the jaggery, tamarind paste, salt and a little water. Grind into a coarse paste and keep aside.
Wash and slit the eggplants from the base to the calyx but not all the way through, leaving them attached at the stems.
Stuff the eggplants with the paste. Save the remaining paste.
Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed wide and shallow sauce pan. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter then add curry leaves. Remove the pan from the heat for a few minutes while you arrange the stuffed eggplants in the pan. Add the remaining paste on top of the eggplants. This paste, when cooked may not be presented along with the eggplants if you are going to serve them as a snack, but it surely helps keep the eggplants moist and also prevents them burning.
Cover the pan with a plate and pour half a cup of water in the plate. This is like a “water bath” treatment, popularly known as “panyache zhakan” in Marathi. Cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes.
Carefully remove lid (without letting the water splash into the saucepan!). Turn the eggplants once to ensure even cooking. Replace the lid, this time without water for a few more minutes. When cooked, switch off the heat.
To serve, lift the little eggplant carefully onto a serving tray.
Recipe credit: @shrutinargundkar