Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eggplant in Yogurt Sauce

Doi Begun
I used Japanese eggplants for this recipe, but any type of eggplant will do. During my years of cooking eggplant, I've noticed that if it is chopped prior to cooking, it helps retain its shape better if the pieces of eggplant are marinated in salt and set aside in a sieve in the sink for half an hour. Especially if the skin is left intact, eggplant tend to be somewhat bitter and the marination in salt eliminates this tendency. 

Greek yogurt imparts a creamy texture to the gravy in this dish. The yogurt should be taken out of the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before cooking. It also needs to be whipped well and added to the hot pan after reducing the heat to low, one tablespoon at a time and mixed into the gravy with each addition. The yogurt is added a tablespoon at a time so that it does not separate. Be very gentle when adding the yogurt so that the pieces of eggplant do not disintegrate.


1 cup plain (unflavoured) Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. roasted cumin powder
1 tsp. Bengali roasted five-spice powder (panch phoron)

4 large oriental eggplants, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. shah jeera or cumin seeds

2 dried red chilies, left whole
2 sliced onions

1 mustard oil
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 – 3 hot green chillies, left whole


  1. Mix yogurt with the next 5 ingredients and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Coat eggplants with turmeric and salt, then fry in 3 Tbsp. oil until golden brown, remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same pan over medium-high heat and add cumin seeds & dried chilies.
  4. When the seeds begin to sputter and sizzle, add sliced onions and saute until translucent.
  5. Add fried eggplant, adjust salt to taste and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Turn heat down to low and add yogurt mixture, one tablespoon at a time, until the yogurt is thoroughly incorporated into the vegetables.
  7. Garnish with mustard oil, chopped cilantro & whole chilies and transfer to a serving dish.
Serve with steamed Basmati rice or naan/chapatis.

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