Total Calories: 540
1. Make a cross-cut at the base of each eggplant, going three-quarters of the way to the top. Place in a saucepan along with 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon turmeric, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer until the eggplants are half cooked (crisp-tender), about 7 minutes. Drain the eggplants over a bowl and reserve about 3/4 cup water.
2. In the same saucepan, place the malanga root and about 4 cups of fresh water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer until the malanga root is soft, adding more water if it evaporates, about 15 minutes. Remove from the water, let cool, then peel and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Discard the water.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggplants, malanga root, mustard and fennel seeds, salt, cayenne pepper, the remaining 1 teaspoon turmeric, and mix well, making sure all the vegetables are well coated.
4. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until smoking. Remove from the heat, add to the bowl with the vegetables, and mix again. Let cool and transfer to a large sterile jar. There should be at least 1/2 inch of oil on the surface, if not, heat and add some more. Cover the jar with the muslin, securing it with a rubber band, and place in a warm, sunny spot in the kitchen, or outside in the sun, shaking once or twice a day for 2 days.
5. Mix in the reserved eggplant water and shake the jar again. Place in a warm, sunny spot in the kitchen or outside in the sun again, shaking the jar once or twice a day until the vegetables are very soft and tangy, 6 to 8 days. This pickle stays fresh at room temperature about 1 month, and in the refrigerator about 6 months. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
From "1,000 Indian Recipes." Copyright 2002 by Neelam Batra. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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