Smoky aubergine dishes are more popular in the Indian sub-continent, Middle East, Egypt, Lebanese and Turkish cuisine. In the Indian subcontinent it is made as a spicy side dish whereas in other cuisines they are incorporated into mezze or a dip. In Sri Lanka it is made into a salad with coconut milk. My mum used to burn the aubergines on charcoal fire and char them till the insides are tender.This way they get the smoky flavour. We call it pachadi. It is quite simple to make but I will share that recipe later on. The aubergine dish that I am sharing now is more popular in the Indian subcontinent. Bigger aubergines are better as they are easy to handle.
To get an optimum smoky flavour wash the aubergines well; wipe them and apply cooking oil and roast this over a naked gas flame until the skin gets dark with blisters, then bake it in the oven until fully cooked. Rest it for a while, then peel and chop it into bite sized pieces.
This dish is a good accompaniment to rice or flat unleavened bread.
Time: Total of 40 minutes (5 minutes of scorching in the flame +20 minutes baking +12 to 15 minutes cooking)
Serves: 3- 4 persons
1 large aubergine, washed and wiped
2 green chillies, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 medium tomato, chopped into small pieces
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped finely
1 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
½ -1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves/ cilantro
A few drops of lemon or lime juice, optional
2 tbsp oil for coating the aubergine and for cooking
1.Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
2.Dip a piece of kitchen towel in oil and apply on aubergine. With the help of a fork,hold it over the flame until the skin is dark with blisters. Keep rotating until all sides are blistered.
3.Transfer this to a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until the aubergine is tender. while it’s baking prepare the rest of the ingredients. Remove the aubergine from the oven and leave it to cool. When the Aubergine is cool enough to handle, skin and chop the flesh into bite size pieces about 2 cm.
4.Heat oil in a saucepan. When hot add the cumin seeds and the onions. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add green chilli, ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Add cumin, coriander and chilli powder. If it looks very dry splash some water. When the spices are full of aroma add the tomatoes. Cover and cook till they are mushy.
5.Add the chopped aubergine and cook for about 10 minutes. Take it off from fire and add coriander leaves and lime or lemon juice, mix well.
Serve hot with steamed rice or any unleavened flat bread.