Eggplant Delight (version II)

3-4 japanese eggplants
1 large onion
1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoons roasted and ground peanuts
2 tablespoons roasted and ground coconut flakes or coconut powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
2 teaspoons ground coriander (optional)
1/4 cup tamarind paste liquefied with water
3-4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons roasted ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon powdered turmeric
bay leaves
corn or safflower oil for cooking
salt to taste
dry roasted whole black mustard
green chilies (optional)

Split eggplant into halves lengthwise, then divide each piece into two. Soak in cold slightly salted water for 10 minutes.

Chop onion in large pieces and puree in a blender.

In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil and add all ingredients except tamarind paste, sugar, bay leaves, and black mustard. Cook on medium heat and add a little water if necessary to keep the spices from sticking to the pan. If the oil has absorbed and the spices look dry, add some oil also. If using the green chilies, add them at this time.

After the spice mixture has cooked for about 5 - 7 minutes, add the well-drained eggplant. Let cook for approximately ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar to the liquid tamarind paste and then add paste to the spice mixture. Add more water to soften the eggplant. In a small saucepan, dry roast the black mustard and add to mixture. Then add bay leaf. Let cook for five more minutes.

Serve with rice.

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