Indian Aubergine with Sesame, Tamarind and an Egg

indian_sesame_aubIn which part of the world do you look for inspiration when looking for new aubergine recipes? For me India is a definite number one (Japanese cuisine comes in second position), so whenever in search for new aubergine ideas, I usually start with this part of my culinary library, especially if I have a new cookery book to play with! The recipe I chose contains a generous amount of sesame seeds, not what I’d expect in an Indian dish. Moreover, the presence of tamarind announced a slightly tangy dish… The result is fantastic, but the sesame seeds transform the other – less surprising – ingredients to the point where, I must admit, I’d never guess the origins of this dish. As a lazy cook, I simply topped it with a poached egg and had it with bread, transforming it into a delicious, creamy full one-bowl meal. The dish was memorable because it was the first time – I think – I had an excuse to sprinkle an Indian dish with my beloved roasted sesame seeds!

The new book I’ve mentioned above is Fresh India, a second recipes collection by Meera Sodha. I love her Made in India, but I hesitated a lot before buying this one because it is vegetarian. I am an avowed pisci- and carnivore, so I was worried it might even be vegan… but when I saw eggs are also featured here (luckily there’s Amazon’s “look inside” option), I was relieved. The pages are of course filled with meatless dishes (but I already visualise those topped with an egg, enriched with sliced chicken breast or shrimp…) and, most of all there are some mushroom and egg-including recipes that don’t need any other proteins, even for me.

This aubergine dish comes from Anhdra Pradesh, apparently known for a combination of tangy and fiery flavours. As usually, apart from the addition of an egg, I have transformed the recipe, for example replacing half of the sesame seeds with white sesame paste (I was afraid my blender wouldn’t transform the sesame into a smooth paste and I was right : the result was creamy with some tiny bits of sesame seeds). In short, whether you are a vegetarian or just an Indian cuisine fan, I encourage you to buy the wonderful Fresh India and check the original recipe for this delicious aubergine dish.

TIPS: Don’t skin your tomatoes. It’s absolutely unnecessary and mixed skins add more flavours anyway.

If you find poaching difficult, you can fry the egg too.

If you don’t own a “magical” Indian blender and aren’t sure if yours will crush sesame seeds to fine powder, add half sesame seeds and half sesame seed paste or grind the seeds in a spice/coffee grinder. By the way, if you cook Indian from time to time, I strongly recommend buying a cheap coffee grinder you shouldn’t use for coffee (cheap ones have blades and not burrs and cuts coffee instead of properly grinding it). It’s perfect for freshly ground spices and the difference is huuuge!

The recipe suggests serving this dish with cracked wheat and yogurt. I haven’t tested either, but,  maybe because of the poached egg, the dish was great simply served with bread.

I suggest warming up your individual bowls in the oven (at the lowest temperature; don’t go above 50°C if they aren’t heatproof) before serving this dish. It might take some time before fried/poached eggs are ready and this way your aubergine dish will keep warm for longer.

Preparation: 1h – 1h30

Ingredients (serves 3 as a side dish or 2 as a main course  with a poached egg):

2 medium aubergines/eggplants, cut into 3 cm thick sticks

1 medium onion (I have used two big shallots)

fresh mint or coriander leaves (or chives/green onion)

1 tablespoon oil (I have used coconut fat)

(toasted white sesame seeds)

(yogurt)

Sauce:

2 medium tomatoes (or 1/3 small can of tomatoes)

2 heaped teaspoons white sesame seeds or 1 heaped teaspoon white sesame seeds + 1 heaped teaspoon white sesame paste (see the TIPS)

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons tamarind paste (or 2 tablespoons tamarind “juice” made from a block of tamarind and hot water)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

3 teaspoons medium hot chilli powder (I have used here Kashmiri chilli)

Place the sauce ingredients in a blender and mix well.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the sliced shallots and stir-fry until light brown.

Add the sauce and, when it’s warmed, the aubergine pieces and about 1/2 glass of water (they will absorb water, so the sauce must be more liquid).

Simmer, covered until the aubergine pieces are soft.

Add water if necessary.

Heat the water for poached eggs.

Divide the aubergine dish into individual bowls.

Poach 3 eggs, one by one, and place on top.

Sprinkle with chopped mint and, if you like, toasted sesame seeds.

 

16 thoughts on “Indian Aubergine with Sesame, Tamarind and an Egg

  1. mae

    Turkish cuisine also offers many eggplant (aubergine) dishes — a Turkish bride was supposed to know over 100 ways to prepare it.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Mae. Very interesting. I don’t know Turkish cuisine at all (haven’t cooked anything and have eaten only kebaps…), so I had no idea!

  2. mjskitchen

    I don’t need to look anywhere else but here when it comes to eggplant (aubergine) recipes! You find some of the best recipes and it’s such a variety. Bobby and I discovered tamarind paste a while back and have been using a little here and there. Love having another recipe that highlights it.

    I wish I could make this with homegrown eggplant, but unfortunately, my plants just didn’t produce any, I don’t think they get enough sun. However, I do wish I could send you some of our tomatoes. I have 3 large bowls of tomatoes on the countertop. Looks like I’ll be freezing some tomorrow.

    Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Dear MJ, you are so kind…. Thank you or such kind words… I wish I could taste at least one of your tomatoes too! They must be fantastic!
      I love aubergine more and more every year. I am still pleasantly surprised it takes on different textures and flavours depending on the cooking method (not to mention the spices which change it so much…).
      I also love tamarind (actually I buy it in blocks, which I dilute in hot water because they keep for years).
      PS Have you considered making semi-dried tomatoes? I do this all the time with small ones… I’m sure they can be frozen afterwards too and it will take less space.

      1. mjskitchen

        You know – I though of drying tomatoes early this summer, but totally forgot! I wish I had remembered earlier because we had quite a few I could have dried. Now we’re traveling for a couple of weeks and we’ll probably have a freeze while i’m gone. However, our housesitter is definitely enjoying them. 🙂 I’ll email you a picture she sent to me today. Next year I’ll try drying them because that’s a great idea!!

  3. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    I would say that my largest and most inspired source for aubergine recipes comes from With A Glass – truly! Your passion for this vegetable (technically a fruit I think #nerd) always comes through and you find the most interesting ways of presenting it; by interesting I mean, specifically, different from my day to day experience. This is one of the things I like most about your blog, you are always introducing me to new ways of combining and enhancing flavor without being intimidating or overly time consuming (huge factor for me). This Indian inspired take is just one example. Beautiful dish Sissi.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Dear Kelly, thank you so much for all the compliments and kind words. I will read and reread your beautiful message whenever I lack motivation to continue my blogging experience! I used to find courgette/zucchini the most versatile and the most “passe-partout” as say the French, but now I know the aubergine is much much more versatile and I’m never bored since they change flavours and texture so often.
      PS You are right; I keep on forgetting tomatoes and other “vegetables” are really fruits!

  4. Eva Taylor

    I rarely venture outside my favourite Indian recipes even though I have several Indian cookbooks. I really should because your recipes and photos are always so tantalising. I do love aubergine very much, it’s creamy texture really suits my taste.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Eva, for the compliments (I am always afraid Indian dishes will look awful…they are often so messy…). I have been on an Indian cooking frenzy for months and it doesn’t seem to stop…

  5. Adina

    I love your eggplant recipes! And I think I have to buy one of Meera Sodha’s books. I have never heard of her before you mentioned her in your posts, but it sounds like she has some great books.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Adina. Meera Sodha’s books are wonderful because they illustrate real home cooking: sometimes traditional and time-consuming, sometimes very easy and quick and I particularly like her Indian-style dishes invented in UK by herself. I can honestly recommend her book!

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