Ingredients (Serves 3)
To dry roast
1. Urad dal – 2 tsp
Chana dal – 2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Dry red chillies – 6 – 7
Fresh grated coconut / dried coconut – 2 tbsp (optional)
Oil – 1/2 tsp
2. Baby egg plants – 7 (Green eggplants are usually used for this preparation)
3. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
4. Tamarind – Large goose-berry sized or to taste
5. Hot water – 1.5 – 2 cups
6. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
7. Mustard seeds – 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
8. Fenugreek seeds / uluva – 1/4 tsp
9. Jaggery – 1/2 – 1 tsp or to taste (Optional)
10. Hing / asafoetida – 1 – 2 pinches
11. Salt – To taste
12. Gingelly oil / nallenna – 3 – 4 tbsp (I used 2 tbsp)
1. Heat little oil in a pan. Add urad dal chana dal, coriander seeds and dry red chillies. Saute for 2 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Switch off and add coconut. Mix well and set aside to cool. Grind in a mixie to a fine powder. Set aside.
2. Soak the tamarind in 1.5 – 2 cups of hot water for about 10 minutes. Extract its juice and keep aside.
3. Wash the egg plants. Remove the stems if they are not fresh. Make 2 perpendicular slits on the egg plants as shown in the picture. Stuff the egg plants with the ground spice powder. Reserve the remaining powder.
3. Heat oil in a deep pan at medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, bring down the heat and splutter mustards and brown the fenugreek seeds. Immediately add the egg plants. Fry them at medium – low heat adding little salt and turmeric powder. Turn them around and fry all the sides. Take care not to burn the mustards and fenugreek seeds, they will taste bitter if blackened. When the egg-plants are fried on all the sides, increase the heat to medium, add tamarind juice, curry leaves, the remaining spice powder and salt to taste. Cover and cook turning them in between, until the gravy gets thick and you can see oil on top of the curry. It takes about 15 minutes. Add 1/2 – 1 tsp grated jaggery and 1 pinch of hing. Switch off and set aside for 15 minutes. Serve with rice, poriyal and pappad. It tastes better the next day.