Total Calories: 293
1. Prepare the tamarind paste. Then, preheat the broiler. Keeping the stems intact, make a long slit in each eggplant. (If using Chinese eggplants, make a slit along the length and then cut them into 2-inch pieces cross-wise around the middle.) Toss with 1 teaspoon oil, then place on a baking or broiler tray and broil 4 to 5 inches from the heating element, turning once or twice until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside and leave the broiler on.
2. Place the onions and garlic on a broiling tray and broil 4 to 5 inches from the heating element, turning once or twice until completely charred, about 10 minutes. Let cool, peel off most of the charred skin from the onions and garlic, and process in a blender or a food processor until smooth. Leave in the processor.
3. Meanwhile, in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, dry-roast the peanuts until golden and transfer to a heat-proof bowl. Then dry-roast the coconut until golden and transfer to the same bowl. Then dry-roast the red chili peppers, sesame seeds, and fenugreek seeds until a few shades darker, and transfer to the same bowl. Let cook and grind everything together in a spice of a coffee grinder until fine. Add to the processed onion mixture, then add about 1/2 cup water and process again to make a smooth paste.
4. Heat the remaining oil in a large nonstick wok or saucepan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds and the mustard seeds they should splutter upon contact with the hot oil, so cover the pan and lower the heat until the spluttering subsides. Quickly add the curry leaves, stir 1 minute, and add the processed onion and spice paste. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remainin2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and summer until the oil separates and floats to the top and sides, 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Mix in the tamarind paste and the eggplants, cover the pan, and simmer until the eggplants are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Add more water if needed this dish should have a soft, thick sauce--more sauce than vegetables. Transfer to a serving dish, mix in the cilantro, and serve.
VARIATION: To make a simpler version, do not roast the vegetables buy roasted, unsalted peanuts and dry-roast the spices, then grind the peanuts and the spices together.
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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