5-6 baby eggplants – wash and make deep slits into the eggplant
1 small onion
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or (2-3 garlic + little piece ginger curshed)
1 cup dry unsweetened coconut powder
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
Spices to use : Masala dabba spice mix– pinch turmeric powder, 2 tsp of Coriander-Cumin powder, Cumin seeds, Salt
Optional: Asafeotida, Cilantro
Oil : Coconut oil or regular oil
Cooking pot : Dutch oven or Pressure cooker / Instant pot or any heavy bottom pot
Make the gravy first
-Dry roast coconut until lightly brown; add sesame seeds. Roast in the same pan and turn off heat. Add red chili, turmeric, a little salt, tamarind, coriander cumin powder and grind to a paste by adding a little water. Set aside. I use vitamix blender which is really powerful to grind the paste.
Prepare the eggplants
- Wash the eggplants first. then using a pairing knife or small knife make a cross slit on top the eggplant until you reach the bottom but not fully.
- This slit will help to cook faster, absorb all the gravy and spices.
- Using a pressure cooker, heavy bottom skillet or oven safe pan, add a few tablespoons of oil and fry eggplants until softened(4-5 mts) but not cooked. Remove them from pot and set aside.
- Add oil to the pot and saute onions over medium heat until golden brown.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for few seconds
- Turn the heat to low, add the ground gravy paste and stir in with onions and ginger garlic paste by adding a little water (less than 1/2 cup). When the oil oozes, add water and cover to let the spices cook in oil. Add the fried eggplant and cover to cook until all the gravy and spices are absorbed in eggplant and tender.
Instant pot instructions
If you are using Instant pot then use saute mode to do the same as above.
-After you add the eggplants to the cooked gravy in step 5, then close the instant pot lid and let it cook for 3 mts on manual high pressure. Release the pressure naturally.
Some cooking tips for better results
– Use a powerful blender to make gravy as the coconut should not appear grainy or the final paste should look smoother. Otherwise your final curry will be seperated and won’t taste as good.
– Coconut milk is not a replacement for anything in Indian cuisine calling for coconut in the recipe. So donot substitute this unless mentioned otherwise.
– If you want , you can use roasted peanuts and sesame seeds to make the gravy if you donot have dry unsweetened desiccated coconut. You can find this in Indian grocery store.
-Best taste will come in either instant pot or Indian wok (Karahi).
– the secret to good tasting gravy is in roasting the gravy paste in oil until the oil oozes out and then adding the water.