The state of Andhra Pradesh is located along India’s southeastern coastline. Andhra cuisine is well known for its use of bold aromatic spices. The food from this region is usually fiery hot, as in “off the hook” spicy. But you can always feel free to adjust the spice levels to suit your own palate. Although Andhra Pradesh is most famous for its biryani varieties, their vegetarian specialties are equally delicious in their own right. My Green Eggplant Curry is a shining example of tasty Andhra cuisine.
Now eggplants are actually native to India and are commonly known as brinjals. They are a wonderful source of dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Eggplants also contain many antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals in the body and protect the cells from damage.
There are actually several different varieties of eggplants & they come in all shapes & sizes. For this particular recipe, I highly recommend using the small round green eggplants. This variety is about 2-3” in diameter & the eggplants are light green in color with thin white stripes or markings at their stem end. Green eggplants have a wonderful taste & firm texture. They are available in any Indian grocery store or Asian market. If you can’t find them, just use small round dark purple eggplant variety – the dish will still be delicious ☺.
GREEN EGGPLANT CURRY
6-8 round green eggplants, trimmed & cut into wedges
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
3-4 small green Thai chilies, finely minced (to taste)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal (split & skinned white black gram dal)
6-7 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt & pepper, to taste
½ tbsp tamarind concentrate (or tamarind powder)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
freshly grated coconut for garnish
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the mustard seeds & allow them to splatter. When the popping subsides, add in the cumin seeds along with the urad dal, curry leaves & asafetida. Let cook for about a minute or so & then add in the diced onion. Sauté the onions until they have softened & then add garlic along with the ginger & green chilies. Stir fry until the onions have browned & then add in the spices (turmeric, red chili powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala, salt & pepper). Let the spices cook for a couple minutes & then add in the green eggplant along with the tamarind. Stir well to combine, adding a little water as needed (about ½ cup or so). Let the eggplant cook for a few minutes, then partially cover the skillet & reduce the heat to low. Cook until the eggplants are completely soft & tender – about 6-8 minutes. Garnish with the freshly grated coconut, cilantro leaves & toasted sesame seeds. Serve with fragrant Basmati rice.
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