This, as I said, is a ‘made in heaven’ combination for Jolada rotti. Nothing else tastes as good as this with Jolada rotti or vice versa. Being one of my FIL’s many favorites, this gets done on some special occasions, exclusively for him :)!
Little tender purple eggplants, slit and stuffed with a spicy peanut based paste, cooked slowly to tender in a heavy bottomed pan, letting the eggplants absorb all the flavors from the masala... Tastes awesome-est with Jolada rotti. Also good with chapathis/rotis.
It does take some time to make these, but not too much either. Just a little extra time, than your routine cooking and you’ll be ready with mouth watering, king of gravies! Slow cooking of eggplants gives an extra good taste and texture to the eggplants. However, if you’re pressed for time and still want to have this, then the pressure cooker also does help! Of course you should take extra care not to make the eggplants too mushy-mushy, but otherwise, you end up with an amazing gravy.
Preparation time : 20 min
Cooking time : 20-30 min
Serves : 5-6
Eggplants - 15-18 small ones, preferably purple ones
Onions - 1 medium sized, chopped
Garlic - 3-4 flakes, optional
Cooking oil - 2-3 Tbsp
For the Masala stuffing:
Dry red chilies - 12-15, (I use a mix of Byadagi and Guntur varieties for color and heat)
Peanuts - 2 Tbsp
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Grated coconut - 1/3 - ½ cup
Coriander seeds - ½ tsp
Onions - 2 medium sized, chopped roughly
Salt - 1½ tsp or as per taste
• Wash the eggplant and pat dry
• Slit them one by one in a + mark - starting from the tip to ¾ the length, keeping the stem as it is
• Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and roast the dry red chilies, peanuts, dals and coriander seeds
• Once almost done, add onions and sauté till golden brown
• Cool it, add to it coconut and salt and grind to a thick paste, adding very little water, only to facilitate the blades
• Stuff the slit eggplants with this ground masala, filling each with about a table spoon of the paste and keep in a plate. Reserve the remaining masala for later use
• Heat the remaining oil in a another wide, thick bottomed pan - preferably non stick or a cooker
• Add the chopped onion, garlic, and sauté till golden brown
• Place the stuffed eggplants one beside the other, with the stem up, arranging in a single layer
• Cover and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, turning over the eggplants in between, till they are cooked tender
• Make sure the bottom doesn’t brown, by keeping the flame medium to low
• Add the remaining masala and adjust the consistency with sufficient water. The gravy thickens as it cools
• Taste for salt and heat and add more if required. If u need more heat, add some red chili powder at this time
• Cover and cook till the gravy begins to boil. Stir it occasionally, but very very gently so that the eggplants are intact
• Switch off the flame and serve it with Jolada rotti and enjoy. It’s a nice combination with usual chapathis / rice too.
• This dish takes patience and time - the slower the eggplants cook the better the final dish is.
• Be very gentle when stirring
• Using no stick pan helps in reducing the quantity f oil used
• If you’re in a hurry, you can cook the whole mixture in a pressure pan for less than a whistle; but you need to be extremely cautious with the time, else you’ll end up with mushy eggplants
• Pick up little and tender eggplants
• Can also stuff and add capsicums along with eggplants