Stuffed baby eggplant in rich tomato-based gravy, pan-sauteed stuffed baby eggplant, and spice-stuffed baby eggplant pilaf are all the usual favorites. Each time, I vary the stuffing slightly, depending on available ingredients and what the mood calls for.
This time, the stuffing is coconut-based, with panch phoron spices. And, instead of baby Indian eggplant which is a nice egg-shaped flavorful fruit, I used the long Chinese eggplant, cut in half to fit in my pan.
For the stuffing:
¼ cup dry grated coconut
1 tsp black cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 dry red chilies
½ tsp cane sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 long Chinese eggplant
herbs for garnish: cilantro, mint, rosemary, fennel
salt to taste
a few tablespoons of canola oil for pan-cooking
- Stuffing: Toast the seeds, then combine all the rest of the stuffing ingredients and grind to a fine paste adding a little water as needed
- Eggplant: Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise to fit in the pan, or leave it whole if it can be cooked whole in the pan; then, with the ends intact, slit the eggplant lengthwise halfway and again crosswise to make quarters as in the picture
- Pan-cook: Slather the stuffing into the slits in the eggplant, tie with a cooking twine if desired; heat oil in a pan for shallow frying; place the stuffed eggplants in the hot oil, sear one side; turn the eggplants, cover and allow to cook till done, turning as need to get all the sides
- Garnish: I used some fresh mint, oregano, and rosemary from my garden, but, cilantro, curry leaves, spring onions, anything is fine for garnish. Serve warm with roti or rice.