We are still in Santa Barbara with the family. The weather is gorgeous, and it’s so inspiring to cook in this kitchen with a view. Yesterday we visited the Santa Ynez wine region, and discovered some wonderful (vegan!) wine at Brander. Mission accomplished. This morning, we cooked with some fresh produce from my mother-in-law’s garden. This Indian Fried Eggplant is another Indian gem.
I never really know what to do with my eggplants after I’m done grilling some, baking some, and making some pasta sauce. This is a quick and tasty way to use up some eggplants, and it’s so delicious, you’ll crave even the smell that fills the house while you cook them. My mother-in-law recommends baby eggplant, but if you have regular eggplant, it’ll be just fine.
- 2 lb eggplants, washed and cut into thin strips
- 2 onions, cut into small dices
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 curry leaves (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon garlic-ginger paste* (optional)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
Soak the eggplant strips in water and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seed and let cook 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and curry leaves, if using, and sauté 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté while stirring for a minute. Add the turmeric, sauté, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Cover and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is golden and caramelized, 7-8 minutes.
Drain the eggplant strips and add to the skillet. Mix thoroughly until eggplant strips are coated with the spice and onion mixture. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add 1 teaspoon sea salt, stir well, and continue cooking, covered, for an additional 4-5 minutes. Add the chili pepper and the garlic-ginger paste, if using, and stir well. Continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the garam masala and continue cooking until eggplant is nice and fried, about 2-3 minutes more. Remove to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh cilantro and done! Bon appétit!
*The garlic-ginger paste, so essential to Indian cooking, can be made very quickly using a blender. I am including this link to a recipe. You can make enough and freeze it for a later use.