Recipe by Ajoy Joshi, founder and chef of the highly acclaimed restaurant Nilgiri’s in Sydney, Australia. Recipe reproduced with the kind permission of Ajoy Joshi.
- 6 baby eggplants
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2½ tablespoons vegetable garam masala
- 1½ cups desiccated coconut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon salt, or 4 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- TO PREPARE THE EGGPLANTS:
- Add 1 tablespoon salt to 1/2 litre of tepid water in a large bowl to immerse the deseeded eggplant.
- Slice top off the eggplant.
- Score the diameter of the circle using the tip of a sharp knife.
- Scoop out the eggplant seeds (the scored circle will prevent the eggplant skin from tearing).
- Scoop out the seeds until you can insert the teaspoon one inch into the eggplant’s length (in total, remove about 1 teaspoonful from each eggplant).
- Place the scooped eggplants into the bowl of saltwater you prepared earlier – this will reduce the bitterness of the eggplant and prevent any discolouring of the inside.
- TO MAKE THE SAUCE AND THE FILLING:
- Heat frying pan, then heat 3 tablespoons of the oil and add ginger paste.
- Fold until ginger almost caramelised.
- Reduce heat, add turmeric and fold gently.
- Add chilli and fold.
- Fold in garam masala, then add coconut and fold until coconut begins to caramelise.
- Finally, fold in salt.
- Remove half the filling and place in small bowl. Leave remaining filling in the pan to make the sauce, later.
- Add coriander to the bowl and set aside.
- Return to the eggplants and dry each by using a clean tea-towel.
- With a small spoon, scoop up some of the filling and insert into each eggplant.
- Press down the filling firmly with the teaspoon.
- Once stuffed, set aside the eggplant and repeat for each remaining eggplant.
- Meanwhile, in a clean frying pan, heat remaining oil until it starts to smoke. Add stuffed eggplants, one at a time, and cook until skin is crisp.
- Cover pan and slow cook until inside of eggplants are cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
- TO PREPARE THE SAUCE:
- Heat pan with remaining filling and fold in tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft (add any remaining filling to pan).
- Add water, or stock, and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat and cook until sauce has thickened.
- Place a banana leaf on a plate.
- Place sauce on the banana leaf.
- Stand the eggplants in the sauce.
- Add remaining sauce on top of the eggplants.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice to bring out the aroma of the dish.
- Serve with a chappati or bread of your choice.
To see a step by step version of this recipe with images, check out Ajoy’s blog – An eggplant (aubergine) dish that’s fit for a vegan king!
Nilgiri’s, 81 Christie Street, St Leonards, NSW, Australia
02 9966 0636