Cooks in every region of India stuff baby eggplants - the fillings range from minced meat to mashed vegetables. The Tamils in southern India fill their baby purples with fresh coconut and roasted legumes, both hallmark ingredients of this area's cuisine. I serve this as a side with Roasted Leg of Lamb with Raisin-Mint Sauce.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the lentils, split peas, cashews, coriander seeds and chilies. Stir fry until the legumes and nuts are reddish brown and the chilies have blackened, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ingredients to a plate, leaving behind any residue oil. Once they are cool to the touch, place the ingredients in a spice grinder and grind until the texture resembles that of a finely ground black pepper.
2. Place the coconut, salt and the ground blend in a small bowl and combine thoroughly.
3, Rinse the eggplant well but do not remove the stems. Slit each eggplant three-quarters of the way through by making two crosswise slits, forming an X.
4. Stuff each eggplant with this spice-nut blend, as much as you can possibly push into the slits. Son't worry if some of the filling falls out; most of it will remain inside.
5. Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds, cover and cook until the seeds have stopped popping (not unlike popcorn), about 30 seconds. Immediately add the eggplants, arranging them in a single layer and lower the heat to medium. Cook uncovered turning them gently every 2 to 4 minutes until the eggplants have seared and appear slightly blotchy, about 10 minutes.
6. Pour in 1 cup water, which will instantly come to a boil in the hot skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the skillet and braise the eggplant turning them occasionally until they are very soft when pierced with a fork or spoon, about 1 hour. The eggplant will have absorbed most of the liquid. Lift them gently onto a platter and keep warm.
7. Pour 1 cup water into the skillet, sprinkle in the curry leaves and raise the heat to medium high. Boil the sauce uncovered stirring occasionally until it is thick about 5 minutes.
8. Pour the sauce over the eggplant and serve.
NOTE: To reconstitute coconut, cover with 1/2 cup boiling water, set aside for about 15 minutes and then drain.
NOTE: If small eggplants are not available in your grocery store, purchase the large variety. Remove the stem, and cut the eggplant into 2-inch thick rounds. Slit each piece three quarters of the way through by making two crosswise slits forming an X. Stuff the rounds and use kitchen twine to hold them shut if necessary.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (1129g)|
|Recipe Makes: 6 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 208 (44%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 23.1g||31 %|
|Saturated Fat 8.3g||41 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 9g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 4.5g|
|Cholesterol 0mg||0 %|
|Sodium 38.2mg||1 %|
|Potassium 2635.2mg||69 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 67.9g||20 %|
|Dietary Fiber 40.2g||161 %|
|Sugars, other 27.8g|
|Protein 13g||19 %|
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Calories per serving: 473
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