Chow Town

This Indian eggplant dish turns any meal into a celebration

Bharva Baigan
Bharva Baigan Special to The Star

This dish often shows up at celebratory functions and on special menus.

For an authentic flavor, make sure to use the miniature, round eggplants rather than larger varieties.

Although it takes time to cook the eggplants through on low heat, the recipe is relatively simple and does not require too much attention, so it can be done concurrently with other preparations for the meal.

Bharva Baigan

Small eggplants stuffed with assorted spices

Makes 6 to 8 servings

12 small, round eggplants (baby eggplants)

4 tablespoons coriander powder

1 1/2 tablespoons cumin powder

3 tablespoons mango powder

3/4 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)

1/3 cup canola oil

Make vertical deep cuts in the eggplants, almost to where they split open, starting at the base of the eggplant and working to the stem. Each half should not separate.

Mix all of the dried spices together in a large bowl. Open the cut end of each eggplant and evenly stuff 3/4 teaspoon of the powdered mixture. In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil on medium and place the eggplants in the oil. If there is any extra spice mixture, sprinkle it on top of the eggplants.

Fry the eggplant on low to medium heat for 15 to 17 minutes and then turn each eggplant and fry the other side for the same length of time.

Serve hot with flatbread or rice pilaf.

Jyoti Mukharji teaches Indian cooking classes in her Prairie Village home. In the past five years, more than 1,900 aspiring Indian chefs have come through her kitchen.