August 03, 2022
Eggplants are having a moment in Houston, just about every farmer’s table is bursting with varieties of these purple berries, from the large heirlooms to the tiny little green eggplants. Eggplant is one of the few vegetables which, when cooked right, can give me the satisfaction of meat. And when paired with the aromatic flavors of Bengal, the lush eastern state of India with dense coconut groves and fields bursting with greens and vegetables, eggplant can truly be a thing of beauty.
Today, I bring you a humble eggplant sabzi (sabzi simply means cooked vegetable in Hindi). Cooked with pungent mustard oil, which is often considered Bengal’s olive oil and hints of cumin and jaggery, this sabzi can be enjoyed over rice, with rotis or other flatbreads or over toast.
8 to 10 baby eggplants (roughly 1 pound)
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons mustard oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cups minced onion
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup minced tomatoes
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon jaggery
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Makes 4 servings
Discard the stem then chop the eggplants into 4 pieces and in a medium bowl, toss them with salt. Let them rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain any liquid that may have collected on the eggplants.
In a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, warm the mustard oil and pop the cumin seeds. Immediately, add the minced onion and cook on medium heat until they are translucent and slightly brown.
Add the salted eggplants and cook for a few more minutes, covered. Next add the turmeric, black pepper, tomatoes, yogurt and jaggery. Turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. The mixture will remain saucy, and the eggplants might dissolve a little into the sauce. Taste to see if the sabzi needs any more salt.
Turn the heat off and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
For a dairy-free option, use coconut milk instead of yogurt.
Use olive oil or ghee instead of mustard oil, however, I would suggest also replacing the cumin seeds with mustard seeds.
Jaggery is raw unprocessed palm sugar – feel free to substitute with brown sugar or honey.
December 02, 2022