Ginger Tamarind Eggplant
1 1/2-inch-round ball tamarind
Put the tamarind in a nonmetallic bowl. Add 1/4 cup boiling water and let it soak for 30 minutes. Mash the pulp and extract as much juice from it as possible. Pour all liquid into a bowl, and save the fibrous residue for making the sauce.
1/4 cup boiling water
1 pound thin, long eggplant
3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup packed flaked coconut, fresh or canned, unsweetened
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt; or to taste
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses -or- brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
tamarind residue from above
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon shredded fresh ginger
Slit the eggplants lengthwise to within 3/4 inch of the stem end so that each eggplant remains in one piece.
Measure out the spices and place them right next to the stove in separate piles. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the coriander, cinnamon, and cloves; fry for 15 more seconds. Stir in the coconut and cayenne pepper; continue frying, stirring, until lightly toasted (about 2 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in the salt, tamarind liquid, and molasses, and mix well.
Stuff the eggplants with the spicy coconut mixture. Secure them by wrapping thread around them.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add mustard seeds. Keep a pot lid handy, as the seeds may spatter and fly all over. When the seeds stop spattering, add the eggplants in one layer. Fry the eggplants, turning them often, for 3 or 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium or medium low and cook them, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are soft and cooked through. Turn off heat. Transfer them to a serving platter, pour Ginger-Tamarind sauce over them, and serve immediately.
Put tamarind residue in a nonmetallic bowl, add 1/2 cup boiling water, and let soak for 30 minutes. Mash the residue and extract as much tamarind essence as possible, squeezing it hard, into a bowl. Discard the fibrous residue.
Put tamarind water in a nonmetallic pan along with cornstarch, mix well and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in ginger shreds.
Note: For a hotter flavor, stir 4 chopped hot green chilies into sauce.
Yield: 6 Servings
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