Brinjal Pahi - Eggplant pickle
A Sri Lankan way of cooking eggplant that because of the flavours of vinegar and mustard make it almost a pickle
1 large eggplant
1/4 cup oil
1 large red onion peeled and sliced or 6 – 8 small red shallots peeled and sliced
1 thumb sized knob of ginger sliced fine or grated
3-4 garlic cloves sliced or grated
2-3 large green chillies, sliced [or more if you like it hotter]
1 sprig curry leaves
10 cm piece pandan leaf
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp turmeric powder or grated fresh turmeric
2 tbsp tamarind paste or purée
1 tbsp lightly crushed black mustard seeds
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp coconut vinegar or white vinegar
Cut the eggplant into finger sized batons – steam or microwave them for a few minute until tender but still firm.
Heat the oil in a frying pan add the onions, chillies, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, pandan leaf and fry on medium heat until onions are just translucent. Add the eggplant and ground spices, cinnamon and turmeric and coat eggplant well in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes stirring well. Add the tamarind, sugar, vinegar and mustard seeds and add some hot water if the mixture is too dry. It should be just moist and not too runny. Cook on low heat until every thing is cooked through add salt to taste.
Optional extra: some thickly sliced green bull-horn chillies [capsicum] can be added along with the tamarind etc and cooked until just tender.
Keeps well in the fridge for 2 weeks