Cashew-Stuffed Baby Eggplant
Using fresh eggplant is key in this recipe, because small eggplants that have been sitting around tend to get rubbery skins. If the skin is a little tough, it will likely start to pull away during the cooking process. Simply remove and discard that excess skin. The flesh inside will still be moist and delicious.
Soak the cashews in water while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Cut 2 perpendicular slits in each eggplant from the bottom, working toward the stem and stopping before you cut through the eggplant, keeping it intact. You'll have 4 sections when done, held together by the green, woody stem. Place them in a bowl of water while you prepare the remaining ingredients. This will help open up the eggplants slightly so that you can stuff them later.
In a heavy pan, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander, sesame, mustard, fennel, and fenugreek seeds. Cook until the seeds pop slightly, about 30 seconds. Don't overcook - the fenugreek can get bitter. Add the onion, ginger root, garlic, and chillis. Cook until the onion is browned, about 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, jaggery, garam masala, salt, red chilli powder, and drained cashews. Cook for another 2 minutes, until well mixed. Transfer to a food processor. Add 1/2 C of water and process until smooth. Take time to scrape down the sides while processing.
To stuff, hold an eggplant in one hand, put about 1 Tbsp of the mixture in the core of the eggplant, covering all sides. Gently close the eggplant back up and place it in a large bowl until you have finished stuffing all the eggplants.
In a large, deep pan, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplants, one at a time. Add the leftover masala and the remaining ½ C water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes, gently stirring occasionally, being careful to keep the eggplants intact.
Turn off the heat and let the eggplants sit for 5 minutes to finish. Garnish with the coriander and serve over rice or with roti or naan.
Recipe courtesy of Anupy Singla.
- 1/2 C raw cashews
- 20 baby eggplants
- 2 Tbsp oil, divided
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated or minced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1-3 Thai, serrano, or cayenne chillis, stems removed, chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp grated jaggery (whole sugar, available in Indian stores)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne
- 1 C water
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander, for garnish
Rice, roti or naan to serve