Stuffed Baby Eggplants-1
•25 baby eggplants
•6 large dried red chilies, deseeded
•2½ Tbsp coriander seeds
•1 Tbsp urad dal
•1 Tbsp chana dal
•2 Tbsp grated coconut (fresh or dried)
•¼ Tsp yellow asafetida powder
•1½ Tsp salt
•2-3 Tsp plus ½ C oil
•½ Tsp turmeric powder
1.Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Make crisscross cut (two intersecting lines) from the rounded base end to within 1/2 & dash;inch of the stem and cap.
2.Heat a pan over moderate heat. Dry roast the hilies, coriander, urad dal and chana dal until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. Now roast the coconut until brown in color. Cool the roasted spices, add 1 Tsp salt and asafetida and grind to a powder in a grinding mortar. Add 2-3 Tsp of oil to the grounded spices. Roughly divide the stuffing into 25 parts.
3.Using a teaspoon, stuff the eggplants with the grounded spices into each slit. Press the cut edges closed and set aside until ready to cook.
4.Heat 1/2 cup of oil (if may use less oil if desired) in a pan over moderate heat. Place the stuffed eggplants, sprinkle turmeric powder. Turning the eggplants occasionally, cook over low heat until the eggplants are tender. Add the remaining ½ Tsp salt and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve hot.
5.** If you desire a healthy recipe, you can steam the eggplants after stuffing them and then lastly sauté the steamed eggplants in 1-2 Tsp of oil.
6.** I have always relished this recipe from my childhood and I learnt this from my mother, which is in South Indian style, though many variations are there from other parts of India also.
By Anand Lila Devi Dasi