Smoked eggplant is like a pen pal that you have so much in common with but you just can’t seem to trust. You seem to agree upon many things, but when push comes to shove, you don’t want to count on it.
Smoked eggplant is intense. It’s a strong flavour to eat. A lot of times, we try to smoothen it out, but I say- pack it up with everything you’ve got, and face it head on. You won’t be disappointed.
I used half a medium sized eggplant for this chutney and ate it with a moong-Proso millet Kitchadi, and I was so happy. Here’s some happiness for you.
Okay. Recipe for half an Italian eggplant (a medium-big one)
Rub a drop of oil (I used sesame) on your eggplant, and roast it over a flame. I used a tiny grate that I use to make rotis, and alternatingly smoked the eggplant on high and low flame. Stop when you see the peel black, and a mushy eggplant hugging you from inside.
Next- grind coarsely/fine, depending on the texture you’re looking for: 3 tbsp peanuts, 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (if you bought it raw, toast on dry hot pan for a min until it begins to pop, toss and cool), 1tsp red chili flakes. Set aside.
Then, take as much of the black peel off the smoked eggplant. Slowly mash it into your processor. To this, add 2 tbsp of grated coconut if you desire. 1 tbsp of thick coconut milk will be okay as well.
Grind this(add water to liquefy if you please) mix with your previous mixture, salt, add the juice of one small-medium lemon. Taste. Now, we add the fun stuff.
In your pan, heat (on low heat)- 1 tsp sesame oil, and as it gets hot, add 1 tsp coconut oil. To this, add mustard seeds, red chilli flakes, and- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced. Your mustard seeds won’t pop in coconut oil. Instead, they will foam over and fry well. Quickly turn off the stove and let the flavors infuse into the oil.
Add the oil with seeds et al to the chutney, enjoy over pita, naan, breads, with rice, quinoa, carrots, small chicken bits, anything in life.
PS: As I lay on the couch thinking what else you could eat this with, I imagine a sandwich- whole wheat, a tbsp of chutney mixed with a tbsp of yogurt or mayonnaise, with roasted sweet potatoes and carrot, fresh spinach with a sweet, lemony dressing.
Be a dear and try it?