Eggplant is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. It can be prepared so many different ways. Of course there are the classic, familiar dishes such as eggplant parmesean and baba ghanoush. Even within Indian cuisine itself, there is so much variation as to how eggplant can be prepared. It can be chopped and cooked in a spicy gravy with potatoes to make Aloo Baingan, cooked and mixed with spiced yogurt to make a raita, or it can be roasted, mashed and then turned into the classic Baingan Bhartha. This recipe for Creamed Eggplant, slightly adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, provides a unique twist on the classic Baingan Bhartha through such unique spices as fennel and fenugreek seeds, by using tomato sauce instead of fresh tomato puree for a more concentrated tomato flavor, and with the addition of heavy cream, which will of course brighten up any dish :) Everyone in my family absolutely loves this dish, even A. Actually, A. probably loves it more than any of us, and given that it's one of the few Indian dishes she really enjoys, we try to keep in the regular rotation :)
Creamed Eggplant, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking
3 medium to large eggplants
5 tbsp. oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
8 tbsp.(1/2 cup) tomato sauce
2 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
Roast the eggplants on a stovetop on high heat. Let them char completely on each side. Then give them a quarter turn, and let them char completely on that side. Continue until the eggplants are completely charred.
Let them cool just a few minutes, and then peel them while they're still warm. Chop them well with a knife, making sure to get rid of any strings. It should be soft and mushy, but it should still have some texture to it.
Heat oil in a large skillet. When it is hot, add the fennel and fenugreek seeds. After 5 seconds, add the onion and cook on medium-high until golden brown, about 7-8 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Then, add the tomato sauce, one tablespoon at a time. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Now, add the eggplant, ginger and salt, and saute the eggplant for 10-15 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, cumin and heavy cream. Cook for just one more minute to heat the cream. Serve hot with parathas, naan, or like I did, Paneer-Onion Kulchas.