Indian Style Roast Eggplant With Tomato & Garlic
This dish NEVER fails to get compliments … it’s SO easy, yet tastes as though you expended time, effort and skills preparing it. Plus, and this is a funny one~ no onions required. Now, anyone who knows Indian cooking knows cutting and frying onions is likely to feature somewhere. Many seasoned South Asian cooks I know will declare that any recipe claiming deliciousness AND zero addition of onions must be looked at with suspicion! I say – no onions means time saved and, knowing how perfectly this turns out every time, it must be added to your list of ‘easy AND delicious things to make in the kitchen’ immediately!
I was never interested in cooking when I was younger and living at home, so I never asked my mama about her signature items (I just happily ate them!). However this is one I did learn and years later, when I had a chance to make it for her she praised it and asked for the recipe! ‘MAMA! you are the one who gave it to me!’. I suggest you take this as a testament to how good this is that the original chef found it delicious enough to compliment!
Mama Teli’s Roast Eggplant with Tomatoes and Garlic ~
2 Large Aubergines/Eggplant. (I usually use two large eggplants but this time I only had the little ones so that is fine too)
2 Tomatoes (the number of tomato/ aubergine ratio should be aprox the same and again this time I only had the smaller plum tomatoes on hand so that is what I used)
5-6 Cloves of Garlic, (go ahead and use more if you like)
Fresh bunch Coriander/Cilantro
3 Tbs Oil, Salt to taste , 1 Tsp Turmeric, 1 Heaped Tsp Coriander/Cilantro Powder, 1/2 Tsp Chilli Powder (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to a really high temp. I do 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the aubergines into chunks toss with oil and salt and put into the preheated oven for about 15-20 mins or until a little charred. This is the secret to the success of this dish.
Most South Asian eggplant curries require the vegetable to be fried in oil and since aubergines are like a sponge they soak up A LOT of oil. By doing it this way the aubergines are cooked by baking and not much oil (nor much time spent standing over a frying pan) is required at all. Like I said minimum effort maximum results, and now you can call it pretty healthy too.
While they are in oven – slice / chop the tomatoes and crush, grate or chop the garlic – I like to crush mine using a traditional method of a wooden pestle and mortar.
Add some oil to pan and sauté garlic. Don’t let it brown!
Just before it browns add the tomatoes mix for 3 mins and add a generous bunch of chopped coriander/cilantro. Add a pinch of salt and let them soften by covering.
Once a little soft add the spices and add more salt to taste but remember the aubergines also have salt in them so don’t over do it!
Once all mixed up add aubergines to tomatoes and cover keep on high heat for a few mins – mix and turn to low/medium low cook till oil comes on top, making sure to mix in between to prevent sticking to the bottom.
So delicious just like that. The sweetness and ‘melt in the mouth’ taste of the roast aubergine compliments the tart tomatoes and perfect blend of Indian spices. It’s a good one.
Variations – Add green or red chopped pepper, add green chillies or add potatoes or add all four! here I chose to add one red, half a green, and one jalapeño pepper.
Serve hot or cold with plain boiled white rice or naan bread or even use it as a dip with tortillas. Garnish with fresh coriander and add a dollop of natural yogurt to the side.
If you bake the aubergines in advance and once cooled, flat pack into a zip-lock and freeze, then it’s an instant meal when you are short of time as you can just take it out the freezer and add to tomatoes and garlic as above. My Argentinian neighbor, who had never cooked Indian food before, tasted this and immediately asked me for the recipe and method. Now she tells me it’s totally one of her favorite ‘go to’ quick meals.