When I develop recipes professionally, my philosophy is pretty straightforward: use few ingredients, keep it simple, and deliver big flavors.
In this spicy, smoky dish from the Punjab region of India, eggplant, onion, and tomatoes are broiled until silky and tender, and then mixed with aromatics and spices. Serve fearlessly over rice (don’t be afraid of carbs).
- 2 Tbs. peanut or other neutral oil
- 2 lb. eggplant (about 2 medium)
- 1-1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium)
- 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 medium jalapeño
- Kosher salt
- 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) ghee or unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup roasted salted cashews, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1-1/2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Cooked basmati rice or naan
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the broiler on high. Brush some of the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Put the eggplant, tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño on the baking sheet. Pierce the eggplant all over with a knife, and brush the vegetables on all sides with the remaining oil. Broil the vegetables, turning them a couple of times during cooking, until the eggplant is soft and well charred and the other vegetables are well charred in places, about 25 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the stem and skin of the eggplant, tomatoes, and jalapeño (discard the seeds for less heat), leaving some charred bits behind, and transfer to a large bowl. Coarsely chop the vegetables, return them to the bowl, season with 1 tsp. salt, and stir to combine.
- In a large skillet, heat the ghee over low heat. Add the cashews, raisins, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and 1 tsp. salt. cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the eggplant mixture to the skillet. Raise the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up any large pieces of eggplant, until just heated through; about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, top with the cilantro, and serve with rice or naan and lime wedges.
I hope you give the recipe a try and leave me a comment on how it turned out!
Giving credit where credit is due:
- Incredible food styling: Ronne Day
- Fabulous photography: Scott Phillips