Spiced Eggplant with Peas and Yogurt

Preparation

http://orangette.blogspot.com/2008/02/over-and-over-again.html

Adapted from Food & Wine, March 2005

Ingredients
3 large eggplants (about 3 ½ lb.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded (or not) and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
¾ cup chopped cilantro
1/3 - ½ cup whole-milk plain yogurt
Salt, to taste
Garam masala, for serving

Preheat the oven to 500° F. Put the eggplants on a rimmed baking sheet, and pierce them all over with a paring knife. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the skins are blackened and the flesh feels very soft when pressed. Set aside to cool slightly. Then slice them open lengthwise and, using a spoon, scrape the flesh from the skin onto a large bowl. Using a potato masher or a large fork, mash the flesh coarsely. (This part can be done a day or so ahead, if you like. Refrigerate the prepared eggplant in a covered container.)

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large (12”) skillet. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they begin to sizzle and pop, about 10 seconds. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and beginning to brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add the jalapeño, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and stir well. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the paprika and turmeric, and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggplant, stir to combine, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the peas, and cook to warm through. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the cilantro, yogurt, and salt.

Serve hot or warm, sprinkled with garam masala. Yield: 6 servings
Note: This dish gets better with age. I like it just fine the first day, but by the second day, it’s even better.

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