Eggplant Salad

2 pounds large (about 3) eggplants
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup (about) oil for pan frying
5 cloves garlic, put through a press
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped for garnish

1. Trim off both ends of eggplants and cut them into slices about 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle slices with salt and let stand for 1/2 hour. Drain off discolored liquid and wipe slices dry, pressing them gently.

2. In a large skillet, heat oil. Lightly brown eggplant slices on both sides over moderate heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Cover the pan since this will steam-fry and reduce amount of oil needed. Remove eggplant to a large serving platter and keep warm while making the sauce.

3. TO MAKE THE SAUCE: In same skillet, stir-fry garlic for about 10 seconds. Add water, turmeric, paprika, cumin seed, and tomato paste. Simmer mixture over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Pour sauce over platter of eggplant and garnish with the chopped red peppers.

Serve at room temperature.

Serve 6 to 8 servings with other dishes.

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