14 baby eggplants (score a one inch X at the bottoms)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1 tsp + 1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp garlic/ginger paste ( I use Dorot frozen cubes – convenient!)
1/2 tsp fresh chili paste (again, Dorot)
3 tbsp tamarind concentrate (I used Laxmi brand, in glass jar)
5 – 6 curry leaves
coriander leaves for garnish
1) Soak the eggplants in salted cool water in a large bowl.
2) Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Add the coconut, and saute with no oil – until a little color appears and you smell the coconut fragrance…. just for a minute or so. Transfer to a large bowl.
3) Saute the peanuts in the same manner, Then, do the same for the sesame. And lastly, do the same for the 1 teas cumin and coriander (those two spices can be done together). Just keep adding these items to the bowl with the coconut. Note: Do not brown these ingredients – you are basically just toasting them a bit in the pan.
4) Heat the oil in a large saute pan, and saute the onions for a few minutes. Then add in the garlic, ginger, and chili. Continue to saute until onions are golden brown (about 8 minutes).
5) Add in salt and turmeric to the pan, and stir. Let cool a bit, and then add the onion mix to the coconut/peanut mixture. Grind the whole mixture in a food processor ( I have a mini processor – I did it in two batches)
6) Drain the eggplants and dry. Add the tamarind to 1/4 cup water and stir to mix, and leave aside.
7) In the same saute pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium high, and saute the eggplants until they are partially cooked. You may have to do this is two batches. Transfer to a bowl.
8) In the same pan there should be leftover oil (if not add a little more…I know – this is a bit of an oily dish); On medium heat, add curry leaves and 1 teas cumin and saute for 30 seconds. Add the ground coconut/onion mixture and saute.
9) Add the tamarind water to the pan, and stir to incorporate.
Check for salt, and you may need to add more water if the mixture gets too thick.