Smoked Spiced Eggplant

Serves 4 to 6


1 large eggplant
3 tablespoons canola oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, ground to a paste in a mortar and pestle
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
½ fresh hot green chile, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon


Roast the eggplant directly on the burner of a gas stove over medium heat, turning often, until the skin is completely blackened and the flesh is soft, about 10 minutes. Or, roast the eggplant on a cookie sheet in a 500°F oven until the skin is blackened, about 20 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then pull off the skin with your fingers, rinsing your hands under running water as you work. (Don’t worry if you can’t get all the charred skin off.) Cut off and discard the stem. Then put the eggplant in a bowl and mash it to a puree with a potato masher.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, wok, or kadai over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the onion and salt, and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until the raw smell disappears, about 30 seconds. Add the coconut, if using, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the coriander, cumin, garam masala, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Now add about 1 tablespoon of water, and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to stick, about 1 more minute.

Add the tomatoes, and give the mixture a stir. Add the mashed eggplant, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh chile and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro. Stir in the lemon juice, and taste for salt. Spoon into a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cilantro, and serve hot.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran