Eggplant with Fragrant Spices & Herbs (Bhartha)
This is a delicious way that Indian and Pakistani cooks prepare roasted or grilled eggplant, and it tastes best made a day or two ahead. It's good as a light lunch, served hot or cold with rice pilaf and a bowl of yogurt, or as a side dish with pita triangles. You can even use it in sandwiches.
| serves: 6|
yields: 5 cups
Light a grill fire. Grill the eggplant over the open fire or gas flame, turning them frequently, until the skins are black and parched and the flesh feels soft when pierced with a fork, about 18 min. (Alternatively, prick the eggplant in several places and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 350°F oven until soft, turning two or three times, about 1 hour.) When the eggplant are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin and put them in a colander to drain. Squeeze the eggplant gently to get rid of the extra moisture and chop the pulp. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and a little salt; set aside.
Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the onion over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 30 min. Add the garlic, ginger, and fresh chile and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring a few seconds until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 min. Stir in the eggplant pulp and the chopped cilantro. Cook, stirring often, until all the liquid in the pan evaporates and the oil begins to separate and forms a glaze over the mixture, about 20 min. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve in a bowl sprinkled with more cilantro leaves.
Recipe by Ayla Algar, How to Cook Eggplant to Tender, Silky Perfection