Spiced Eggplant with Yogurt

The topic of Indian food came up with three of my clients the other day when I asked what they were planning for dinner. I find that people, like myself, crave foods with spice when it’s cold outside. Even though we’ve had a couple weeks of milder weather, the temps are dropping back down and the clouds are still blanketing the sky. Indian and Pakistani foods can definitely warm the bones.

After two eggplants magically found their way into my refrigerator, my wife also suggested Indian food. So I went to my favorite cookbook, The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon. On page 86, there is a recipe called Baigan Pachchadi (Spiced Eggplant with Yogurt). Now remember, “spiced” does not necessarily mean “spicy”. It’s more about flavor. And how spicy something tastes really depends on your pallet. I’m more of a medium heat kinda guy. This dish has mustard seeds, garam masala, fresh cilantro and a little chili powder.

I was also excited to prepare this dish after a discussion with a client about reducing meat-intake and increasing veggies. I will be sure to pass this recipe on to her. Did you know that eggplant is a common meat substitute? It has excellent chewiness and flavor.

Total prep time (including washing, peeling, measuring, cutting and cooking) for Baigan Pachchadi is 30-40 minutes. Makes for a wonderful side dish and can easily stand on its own. Enjoy!

2-3 tablespoons oil (I used a combo of olive and grape seed)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 fresh green chilies, seeded and sliced (I used canned mild green chilies)
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
1 small ripe tomato, diced (I sliced a handful of organic grape tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup water
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)

In a saucepan, heat oil and fry mustard seeds until they pop. Add onion and chillies and fry until onion is soft. Add eggplant and fry for a few minutes, stirring, then add tomato, salt, garam masala and chili powder. Stir well, add water, cover and *cook until eggplant and tomato can be mashed to a puree. Cool, stir in yogurt and half the coriander leaves (fresh cilantro). Serve garnished with remaining leaves. Serves 4-6.

*I like the veggies to have some chew left so I did not cook the eggplant and tomato until it was totally broken down.