Traditionally baby eggplant is cooked so spicy in the south, it is not for the faint hearted. I remember many a time in my childhood when I downed these babies with plenty of water and maybe even some sugar afterwards and the hiccups. But that did not stop me!
There are many different combinations that you can use to stuff the eggplant:
- ginger, jalapeno and coriander paste
- kura karam (ground red chillies, chana dal, urad dal, coriander seed, cumin seed), salt, besan (chickpea flour) and coconut. Optionally you can also add ground sesame or ground peanut powder as well.
Also there are many different ways to cook them from the healthy to the tasty. I usually tend to compromise between taste and health factor.
- Fry the stuffed eggplant in medium low flame with plenty of oil , until crispy and cooked.
- Fry the stuffed eggplant in a little oil but plenty of tamarind juice until cooked
- Steam cook the stuffed eggplant with some tamarind juice
- Bake the stuffed eggplant with little oil and tamarind juice
I have tried all of them and of course the tastiest version is the first option!
8-10 baby eggplant
1/2 cup kura karam
1 tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 cup tamarind juice
1 tbsp shredded coconut
pinch of tumeric
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
Rinse the eggplant and trim the stalk. Cut the eggplant 3/4th of the way from the stem end along one half. Rotate and cut perpendicular to it again 3/4 of the way. Meanwhile mix kura karam, chickpea flour (besan), coconut and salt in a bowl for the stuffing. Using a spoon stuff each eggplant with 1-2 tsp of the stuffing.
Heat a pan and add some oil. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Place the baby eggplant in the pan and cook on medium low until cooked and crispy. Rotate the eggplant periodically carefully to prevent burning. When almost cooked and crispy, drizzle tamarind juice, add any left over stuffing and salt as needed and continue cooking till the juice evaporates. If using less oil, add tamarind juice right after adding the eggplant, place a lid on the pan and cook.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with hot rice.