Eggplant pachadi

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 12 Japanese eggplant, halved lengthways
  • 140 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 15 gm (3cm piece) ginger, finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander and chilli
  • ½ each star anise and cinnamon quill
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  • 125 ml (½ cup) tomato passata
  • 125 ml (½ cup) sambal asli (see note)
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • To taste: caster sugar
  • To serve: coriander
01   Place eggplant in a colander, scatter with 2 tsp fine sea salt and set aside for bitter juices to drain (15 minutes).
02   Meanwhile, heat 40ml oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add onion and sauté until tender (5-7 minutes). Add ginger and garlic, sauté until tender (1-2 minutes). Add spices and curry leaves, cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes), add passata, sambal asli and tomato, stir occasionally until flavours develop (5-7 minutes). Season to taste with caster sugar and fine sea salt, keep warm.
03   Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Rinse eggplant under cold running water, pat dry with absorbent paper, then fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (2-3 minutes on each side). Drain on absorbent paper, then serve hot drizzled with sauce and scattered with coriander.
Note Sambal asli is an Indonesian chilli sauce available from Asian grocers.

This recipe is from the August 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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