Sri Lankan Eggplant Relish

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1 medium eggplant ( 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt to taste
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder, preferably imported
1/4 teaspoon pure chili powder or cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Leave eggplant unpeeled; cut in crosswise slices 3/8 inch thick. Put slices on a large lightly oiled baking sheet in 1 layer. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake 10 minutes; turn slices over, sprinkle with salt, and bake about 10 more minutes or until tender. Transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy, large skillet. Add sliced onion and sauté over medium heat, stirring often, about 12 minutes or until brown. Remove onion to plate.

Add vinegar, mustard, curry powder, chili powder, sugar, water, and a pinch of salt. Stir over low heat until smooth. Return eggplant slices to pan, and toss quickly but gently over low heat to coat each slice with the seasonings. Taste; sprinkle with salt and chili powder if desired. Put eggplant slices on a serving plate, overlapping. Top with sautéed onion slices. (Can be kept, covered, 3 days in refrigerator.) Serve at room temperature.

Makes 3 or 4 appetizer servings

From Faye Levy’s wonderful book International Vegetable Cookbook

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