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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Fenugreek Sesame Oregano Cumin Stuffed Eggplant

Fenugreek Sesame Oregano Cumin Stuffed Eggplant delectable victuals



There is something beautiful in the shapely elegance, the careless asymmetry, and the deep velvety purpleness of the Eggplant that has always attracted me.

Of course, having grown these beauties at home for almost a decade now, and knowing that not all of them are purple (think orange!), and not all of them sport the same uniform looks, I'd like to think that their differences add to their charm, for sure.

They are not always in season, and I try to eat local, so, it doesn't always work out that I find the right eggplant for the price and origin I am comfortable with. But, when I found these young Black Bells at the market, I couldn't pass them up.

Stuffing vegetables is always fun, mixing up the spices and grains to suit the mood and the vegetable at hand:

Bitter gourd,

Bitter melon,

Ridge gourd,

Snake gourd,

Kohlrabi,

Zucchini,

Danish Squash,

Acorn Squash,

Scallop Squash,

 Bell Peppers,

Brussels sprouts,

Okra,

Sweet Potato Skins,

Portobello Mushrooms,

and of course, Eggplant!

This time, I wanted to bring in the goodness of fenugreek and sesame to the mix. Simmered in a tomato-based sauce, these slit-and-stuffed eggplants were quite a treat, enjoyed even more as leftovers when flavors have had a chance to settle.

The kale in my garden has matured, flowered and gone to seed. Kale flowers get sprinkled on salads when they are handy in the garden. They make a fun garnish for spicy dishes, bringing in their sunny yellow to the dish.


Fenugreek Sesame Oregano Cumin Stuffed Eggplant


Ingredients
Medium eggplants that are easy to slit and stuff
Oil
Salt to taste

For the spice mix powder:
1 Tbsp sesame seeds (white or black is fine, I went with white)
2 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 Tbsp dry oregano leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 dry red chilies

For the sauce/gravy to simmer in:
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp raw almonds, soaked in water for about 10 minutes

Preparation

  1. Slit the eggplant cross-wise, like a plus sign, to separate out the quarters, but still held intact at the stem-end
  2. Rub the insides of the eggplant with some salt and let it sit
  3. Grind the spice mix to a powder; stir some of it with some oil to make a paste
  4. Slather this paste into the slits of the eggplant
  5. Grind the sauce ingredients to a fine paste
  6. Heat some oil in a pan, add this paste and a pinch of salt, saute till rawness of onions is gone
  7. Add some water and stir well to make a slightly runny sauce consistency, then, place the slit-and-stuffed eggplants into this runny sauce, cover the pan, and allow to simmer till eggplants are cooked and the sauce thickens
  8. Turn the eggplant partway, carefully, so, all sides get cooked evenly while still retaining their wholeness
  9. Serve warm with naan or basmati rice

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