Baby eggplants are simmered in a thick, full-bodied sauce until tender and juicy. Read more about eggplant in our July/August 2018 Savor feature.
SERVING SIZE: ½ cup (95 grams)
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOKING TIME: 55 minutes
- 12 mini eggplants, stems removed
- ¼ cup unsalted raw peanuts with skins
- 2 tablespoons dried, unsweetened coconut
- 1½ teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (40 milliliters) peanut oil, divided
- 1½ cups thinly sliced yellow onion
- 1¾ cups (410 milliliters) water, divided
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon coriander-cumin powder
- 1⅓ cup (320 milliliters) no-salt-added tomato puree
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
- ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Using a knife, make 2 perpendicular cuts down the length of each eggplant, stopping before the base to keep pieces connected.
- In a 6-inch skillet, toast peanuts over medium-high heat, turning frequently until skins begin to pop and peanuts develop brown spots, about 5 to 6 minutes. Watch for signs of burning and adjust heat accordingly.
- Allow peanuts to cool, remove skins and transfer peanuts to a blender.
- Toast coconut in the same skillet over low heat for about 1 to 2 minutes until light golden brown.
- Transfer to blender with peanuts.
- Add sesame seeds to skillet and toast over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to blender.
- Heat 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil in a 3-quart saucepan. Add onions and sauté over medium heat until lightly caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Transfer to blender with dry ingredients, add ¾ cup water and blend until a paste forms.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add cinnamon and cloves and cook until they sizzle.
- Add onion-peanut paste and sauté until it thickens, all water evaporates and paste begins to look shiny, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add remaining spices and stir to combine.
- Add tomato puree and ¼ cup cilantro and stir to combine.
- Add salt and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until oil begins to separate from the sides of the pan.
- Add eggplants and stir until they are coated with sauce.
- Cover and allow eggplants to simmer over low to medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add 1 cup water, cover and continue to simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the lid and simmer for an additional 5 to 8 minutes until sauce reduces and thickens.
- Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve hot.
Cooking note: Purchase coriander-cumin powder from an Indian grocery store, or use ¼ teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin.
Nutrition per serving: 139 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 269mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 6g sugar, 4g protein, 472mg potassium, 79mg phosphorus