I have never understood why so many people dislike eggplant. It’s silky, soft and it melts in your mouth when cooked and looks gorgeous purple or green! Check out this really good article on ‘The Kitchn’ about ‘Learning to Love Eggplant’. If you love eggplant like me you will surely enjoy this recipe! Iif you are in ‘I HATE eggplant’ category, try eating eggplant just one more time in this recipe and you might change your mind forever!
There are several famous grilled eggplant dishes. This one is a not so well known but it sure is delicious.
Is it like the Middle Eastern classic Baba Ganoush? Nope, not really… No yogurt in my version (makes it vegan!) and No, this is also not the famous Indian ‘Bharta’.
My Smoky Eggplant is tangy, spicy, smoky, sweet and garlicky. YUM!
I have used a particular variety of eggplant which is unique to Konkan coast of Southern Karnataka region. It looks like Thai green eggplant but is a lot bigger. It’s sweet and plump and a little more fibrous than the other varieties. Green eggplant is also less bitter which makes it perfect for this grilled dish. You can use any variety of eggplant but the bigger ones are better for grilling. The souring agent used is Tamarind. I soaked fresh tamarind and extracted pulp out of it. But you can also buy ready to use tamarind pulp. Sweetener is jaggery which can be replaced with brown sugar if you don’t have access to it.
Grilled eggplant is mashed and mixed with shallots, tamarind pulp and jaggery, then simply tempered with green chili and garlic. It has a lovely smokiness from the grilling and tang from tamarind. Crunchy raw shallots are great to bite in silky mashed eggplant.
This is great served on hot rice, chapatti or any other fresh bread. It can even be served as a dip with some chips or vegetables.
- 1 big eggplant.
- 2 shallots/onions
- 2-3 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 2-3 tbsp of powdered jaggery
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 or 2 green chili
- 5-6 garlic pods
- Black mustard seeds
Grill your eggplant, I placed my eggplant directly on gas stove top but you can also use your oven or grill. Grill it till the skin is charred and soft to touch and the eggplant will be cooked inside.
Peel and mash the eggplant. Add tamarind pulp, salt and jaggery to it. Add enough water to thin it down to a think dip consistency. Now at this stage you’ll have to taste it and adjust the flavors till you get the perfect sweet and tangy taste. Once you get the taste right according to your palette, add finely chopped shallots or onions and mix well.
For tempering, heat oil in a little pan, add the black mustard seeds. When it starts spluttering, add finely chopped garlic and green chili and fry till the garlic is golden brown.
Add the tempering to the eggplant mixture and serve cold.