I found this dish in Anjum Anand’s I ❤ Curry book as I was looking for something new to do with the beautiful baby eggplants I picked up from the market several weeks back. This is a delightful savory dish. It has a hint of sweetness, a kick of spice, and the meatiness of eggplant. It is a dish that leaves you feeling well fed and satisfied. Serve with some rice or nana and even vegetarians will feel like they have eaten a meal rather than a side dish.
Since this is an Indian dish there are quite a few ingredients… don’t let that intimidate you. I’ve broken the recipe down into four parts: peanut powder, peanut sauce, eggplant and spices, and the finishing sauce. I also wrote the recipe to better illustrate the break down so be sure and read through the recipe first before attempting this dish.
Let’s begin with the peanut powder. For this you start with dry roasting coriander seeds, sesame seeds, and unsweetened coconut.
These get put into a spice grinder along with some peanuts to make a fine powder… well not exactly a fine powder as it clumps a bit from the oil in the peanuts.
Set the peanut powder aside and start preparing the sauce. For this you simply saute some onions and ginger together till soft and golden.
They then get scooped into a blender. Add the peanut powder from above and a bit of water. Give it a good blend and now your peanut sauce is ready.
With the peanut sauce prepared it is time to prep the eggplants. After washing and drying the eggplant, leave the tops on and quarter them 3/4 of the way through. This keeps the eggplant together while allowing the sauce to get up into the inside of the eggplant.
Now prep your spices. I have found that with Indian cooking, having your spices measured out and ready to go is important to successfully making a dish. More often then not, especially when it comes to toasting seeds in oil, you will be adding the second set of spices in about a minute after you put in the first step.
With your spices ready to go, the seeds get a 30 second saute in some hot oil. The eggplant go in next.
Once tossed the rest of the ingredients get mixed in.
After a quick 15 minute simmer the sauce thickens, the eggplants soften, and the flavors marry together.
This isn’t the prettiest dish in the world but it is one of the more flavorful ones I have made in a while.
Aubergines in Peanut Sauce
Adapted from: Anjum Anand – I ❤ Curry
spiced peanut powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 ¼ teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
- ¼ cup lightly roasted peanuts
Heat a small frying pan with medium heat and dry roast the coriander seeds till they are light brown and fragrant. Pour into a spice grinder. Add the sesame seeds and the unsweetened coconut to the same pan and dry roast till golden. Pour add to spice grinder. Add the peanuts to the mix and grind till a fine powder. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
- 1 ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ of a large onion, sliced
- 5 grams (about ½ inch) of fresh ginger, peeled weight
- ⅓ cup water
Heat vegetable oil in a medium sized frying pan. Add onion and cook till soft. Add ginger and continue cooking till onions are golden brown. Spoon onions and and ginger into a blender leaving behind any oil. Add peanut powder and water to the blender. Blend till smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
eggplant & spices
- ½ pound baby eggplants (also known as Indian eggplant)
- 1 ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon nigella seeds (I could see these as being optional but I used them because I have them)
To prepare the eggplant give them a wash and dry. Leaving the stem attached, quarter the eggplants. See pictures above. Meanwhile, heat the oil in the same pan you used to saute the onions to medium-high. When the oil is hot add the seeds. Brown for 30 seconds to a minute. Add eggplant and toss to evenly coat the eggplants with oil.
- blended peanut sauce
- ¾ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes till eggplants are soft and sauce is thick. Sauce should have the thickness of heavy cream and will thicken a bit as it cools. If it gets too thick simply add a splash of water.
Serve with rice or naan or enjoy on its own.