INGREDIENTS FOR THE EGGPLANT SLICES:
- In this recipe, I used 5 medium sized eggplants because that is what my neighbor brought to me from his garden. If you buy eggplants from the store, you will need 2 large ones.
- 1/2 a cup of my Indian Spice Mix
- enough kosher salt to lightly sprinkle over the eggplant slices
- grapeseed oil to sauté the eggplant
INGREDIENTS FOR THE YOGURT SAUCE:
- 1 cup of plain yogurt. You can buy it from the store or make some of My Mom’s Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of Labneh. Labneh is a yogurt cheese made by removing the water content of yogurt. It is basically extra thick Greek yogurt. It lends a tangy flavor. If you can’t find it, use sour cream instead.
- 1 teaspoon of dried mint
- 1 small fresh mint leaf to garnish each eggplant slice.
- 1 teaspoon of freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds. I will show you how to prepare the toasted cumin powder later in the recipe.
- 1/2 teaspoon of black salt. Black salt is an Indian salt with a high mineral content. If you don’t have this substitute your favorite salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried mango powder. In India, this is called Aamchoor. It is the dried skins of small green mangoes. It lends a complex tart flavor. You can buy it in an Indian grocery store. If you can’t find it, substitute lemon juice or Sumac.
PREPARING THE TOASTED CUMIN POWDER:
- Place a teaspoon of cumin seeds in a small sauce pan. Turn flame to low and toast until you can smell the cumin. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
- Transfer the toasted cumin seeds to a glass bowl and let them cool to room temperature.
- Place then in a coffee or spice grinder and whiz until you have a fine powder.
I keep two spice grinders in my kitchen. One for sweet spices, like the ones I use to make my chai masala, and another for hot and savory spices. This way I don’t have to clean my spice grinders. I have had the same grinders for over 25 years and they are still working!!!
PREPARING THE EGGPLANT:
- Using a serrated knife, cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch discs
- Lightly sprinkle them with kosher salt on both sides
- Place in a glass container and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. This allows excess water to be extracted from the eggplant. This process also makes the eggplant less able to absorb oil.
- Remove the eggplant slices from the glass container and place onto paper towel sheets to dry off excess liquid. Discard the liquid at the bottom of the glass container.
- At this point place the salted and dried eggplant slices, in a single layer, into a clean glass container
- drizzle on some grapeseed oil and sprinkle with my Indian Spice Mix
- turn over the slices and repeat on the other side
- Add another layer of eggplant slices and coat with oil and spice mix. Repeat until all the eggplant slices are used up.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
COOKING THE EGGPLANT:
- Coat a large non-stick skillet with grapeseed oil
- Turn the flame to medium and get the oil hot
- Once the oil is hot add a layer of spiced eggplant slices. Do not crowd the pan. Cook the slices till they are golden brown on the first side. Flip and repeat until the slices are brown and crispy on both sides.
- The cooking time is longer than you think. It is 10 minutes per side. Once the eggplant is brown on both sides. Test it with a fork. Once it is fork tender remove it to a glass baking dish.
- Continue this process until all the eggplant is cooked. Keep placing each slice in the glass baking dish once it is cooked.
When I am cooking a lot of eggplant, I use two pans on the stove. This saves time.
PREPARING THE YOGURT SAUCE:
- Place all the ingredients, except the fresh mint leaves, into a glass bowl and stir.
- Taste the salt and adjust the salt to your liking.
ASSEMBLY: Here I have served the dish family style by arranging the sautéed eggplant slices on a platter. Garnish each slice with a dollop of yogurt sauce and a fresh mint leaf.
This is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant. The spices make the dish very flavorful. The slow sauté makes the outside of the eggplant crispy while the inside stays creamy. Don’t rush the sauté time because the slow cooking is essential to getting the right texture. The yogurt sauce adds tang and creaminess. The mint tops it off with a pop of freshness.
When I am having a sit down dinner party, I put 4 eggplant slices on a salad plate and serve it as the appetizer course. It can also be served as a main dish for a vegetarian.
I appreciate your feedback, so please leave a comment to let me know your thoughts. ENJOY !!!